Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXVIII

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 8:05 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Todd Q."
Subject: AA website hacked by anonymous

Hi Terry...

AA's website has been hacked by anonymous tonight. aa.org

If it's over by morning you can read about it here...


Peace my friend... Todd

Hi Todd,

Thanks for the tip. Alas, by the time I got there, it had already been fixed, and I didn't see anything.

I wonder who "anonymous" is, and why they did it.

I cannot condone hacking other people's web sites. I believe in Freedom Of Speech, which means that everybody gets their say, even if they are lying (which lots of politicians and cult leaders do). That's the tough part of really having freedom of speech — letting the fools and liars speak, and allowing the unpopular viewpoints their 15 minutes on the soap box.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under
**     the protection of the habeas corpus, these are principles that have
**     guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.
**       == Thomas Jefferson

Date: Sun, March 6, 2011 7:49 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Taylor W."
Subject: Tobacco, in relation to me, and to an old e-mail you received


Today is my first day tobacco free in quite some time. I don't recall how long it's been since my last bid to quit. As you rightly pointed out, I let myself be victimized by my lizard brain. And I'm not just cool with the idea of that little fucker manipulating me. It's akin to a person letting their six year old child run the household. As I said, I was concerned that my initial financial incentive to quit smoking (that, plus your nudging when I e-mailed, is what got me to this morning) would not hold fast. However, I've already come up with at least one "better" reason not to have that first cigarette, and remembered another one, one that has a lot of potential stopping power I've failed to make use of. Last night, I had a hell of a time sleeping. That's not abnormal for me, what is abnormal, is instead of their being no reason, or a loopy reason (like, circular fear, if there's such a thing, I'm afraid of insomnia, which stresses me out, so I don't sleep), I had a reason. I was hugely uncomfortable with the idea of waking up with no tobacco. Normally I keep at least five cigarettes ahead of actually running out. As I lay awake in bed, I realized that seemed an awful lot like bondage. In that moment, wasn't I like a junkie wondering from where their next fix may come, lamenting that they hadn't been able to score earlier? The other factor, is that I held my fathers hand while he died of lung cancer. Before that, I held his cigarettes for him when he was too weak/drugged to smoke without assistance. While I don't fear death in and of itself, some ways of getting to that end scare me. What happened to my dad is scary, that's a shitty way to go, man. And that's even considering the fact that he went on quite well given the spreading of the cancer, etc. and really only the last 3 weeks or so were really bad. I feel it's worth noting that my dad had just turned 51 two months prior to death, was a picture of health. His cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. were all excellent. But none of that had a chance to be of any importance, since it wasn't long before the fact that his body was rife with cancer took center stage.

Which brings me to the other tobacco related subject I wanted to touch on. Earlier in this e-mail, I mentioned feeling like a junkie. That might sound extreme to some folks, but really, the only difference are that my drug is much more socially acceptable, and the buzz less enjoyable. I'm not sure how you link to specific locations within pages, but I am referring to a letter you wrote in response to "Kryssi" on page 184 of your letters.

"You are obviously upset about the bans on tobacco and smoking around the world. That really brings up a big philosophical question: Is any government entitled to dictate what the people may eat, drink, smoke, shoot, snort, or otherwise consume?
If tobacco should not be outlawed, then what about poppy juice? Or marijuana?
Or alcohol? Or coffee?"

Any government? I'd say a government with a totally socialized healthcare system might be able to make an argument for legislating what people ingest. If the health of every citizen is to be the burden of all, it could be argued that people have a civic duty not to stress the government programs unduly by making foolish choices. Still, it reminds me of a short story written by F. Paul Wilson called "Lipid Legging". Which actually involves a scenario very much like that, after alcohol and tobacco were banned (in this speculative near-future), so were various forms of fat (and I'm absolutely sure he meant to include high fructose corn syrup). This of course, led to a booming black market in fresh eggs, real butter, etc. I guess my concern, is that while I could see the governments point in such a situation, where does it end? I mean, it seems like everyday something new is unveiled as being loaded with carcinogens, like shampoo, or even the air we breath, so where exactly does the legislation stop?

Personally though, I live the USA, and I feel that the smoking bans are horseshit. Not only do they fuck with what the citizenry wants to do, it screws with the sorta-free-market as well. I say let the dollars decide. Let individual business owners make their own choices. Even as a smoker (hopefully reformed, here in a bit), I would rather dine at a non-smoking restaurant. I do not care for smoking prior to or after my meals. I'm fairly sure almost ANY nonsmoker would choose the non-smoking restaurant. On the other hand, I think bars might see the opposite trend. Alcohol and tobacco go together like poisoned peas and carrots. I always smoked heavier when drinking (which eventually came to mean nothing, because if I wasn't at work, I was probably drinking), and tons of folks seem to think it's a great idea to light up even when they would not do so sober. Given my way, I would see an end to the prohibition of all currently illicit or controlled chemicals/substances. I say go back to the days when you could order heroin from Sears and Roebuck. The most obvious issue is the violence that goes with the narcotics trade. Something people are suddenly becoming more aware of, because the 24 hour news channels and some newspapers decided to pay attention to what's been going on in Mexico. Also, this is pure speculation on my part, but I'm not convinced (at all) that a higher number of users results in a higher number of addicts by comparison. What I mean to say, is that if you double the number of drug users, sure there will be more addicts, but I don't think there would be twice as many addicts. I don't know too many folks who are just dying to try methamphetamine, but don't solely on the grounds that it's illegal. People who want to get high bad enough do just that. What I'm suggesting, I guess, is the addicted population might be more static than most people think. Those who are likely to become addicts are probably already using, or perhaps have managed to actually get themselves addicted already.

I'd better stop there, I need to go get a workout in before I put my patch on and I'm feeling fiendish.

Rock on man!

— Taylor

Hi again, Taylor,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are quitting smoking. There suddenly seems to be a lot of that going around. Good.

The question of government banning smoking if it is paying for the health care is a good one. I remember Governor Jerry Brown complaining a bunch of years ago, something like, "Some guy smokes cigarettes for 20 or 30 years, until he gets lung cancer, and now he wants me to pay his medical bills?" He certainly had a point.

On the other hand, since we do not have a government-funded single-payer health care system, there is plenty of room to argue that government should not interfere in what it won't care for. Prohibition of drugs has not worked any better than prohibition of alcohol did. Both of them just made gangsters rich.

As far as taxing tobacco into oblivion goes, the last I heard on the subject was that the taxes have reached the point of diminishing returns. The taxes on cigarettes are so high that smokers are turning to the bootleggers to get tax-free tobacco — buying untaxed cigarettes that are smuggled in from North Carolina, which doesn't happen to have any cigarette taxes, since it is the biggest tobacco-growing state in the country. At that point, government actually loses influence over the problem.

Have a good day and a good healthy life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world.
**     I know because I've done it thousands of times.
**       ==   Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)

Date: Sun, March 6, 2011 10:08 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Jim R"
Subject: your writings

I stumbled on your stuff this morning. It was good to find someone else who doesn't swallow all the AA bullshit. I have been sober over 20 years. Living in a small town, I run into people who I met in AA a long time ago. I quit going in '93, because I had my life back and because I couldn't take anymore of the constant yammering in the meetings. What I see in the eyes of these AA people is pity. Pity because I have strayed from AA, therefore my life must be an unmanageable mess and I must be drinking.

When I was going to AA, I couldn't believe how much time they spent attacking other possible paths to sobriety, such as Rational Recovery, Moderation Management, or just plain quitting. When I would ask why they would oppose anything that might help a fellow sufferer, or feel a need to be the only way, I got lambasted. Since I did not need their approval, I walked away.

The most useful thing that I ever read in my early years of sobriety was a short article in my college alumni magazine that said that self-control, not self-esteem, was key to beating addiction. AA people over the years have criticized me for describing myself by saying, "I used to be a drunk, and now I'm not." When told that I'm supposed to say that I am "recovering," I tell them that it is my life, and I can pick my own labels. I tell them that the overwhelming majority of people are not in recovery, have their own problems, and are probably sick and tired of all the self-help bullshit that they hear everyday. I only resort to the confessional part when I have to, like when I have to explain the holes in my resume or my divorce from a wonderful woman.

I particularly dislike the insistence that "one day at a time" means that it does not get easier over time to stay sober. It is a fear tactic to keep people in the fold, much like the fear of hell. When I tell someone in AA who is sober for a few years that it does get easier, they look at me with bemused pity that I could be so naive. As though I am a fool who has not been to a meeting in eighteen years and cannot realize that it is only dumb luck that I have not had a drink.

Many years ago, I ran into my AA sponsor at lunch when I was out with some work colleagues. At the time, I had been sober about five years, and away from AA for about three years. I had noticed that he and several other "elders" of our local AA scene were drinking at a nearby table. He followed me to the mens' room, and launched into a confessional about how he had been drinking while he was my sponsor. I shrugged my shoulders and told nim that he had helped me get sober nonetheless, and had given me good advice, namely his admonition to forget all the baloney and set a goal to simply not drink for an entire year. He asked me why I was not upset with his confession. I told him that I had never looked at him as an idol or a mini higher power. He then launched into a windy explanation of why his drinking was not hurting anyone. I laughingly told him that I hoped that nothing about my reaction to his confession conveyed any such judgment that his drinking was harming anyone. Then I left.


Hi Jim,

Thanks for an interesting letter. You make so many good points, ranging from the A.A. members pitying you for thinking that it gets easier after a few years, to your sponsor drinking all along, and rationalizing that he wasn't hurting anybody. (How about hurting himself?)

I don't want to be catty, but maybe it really doesn't get any easier for the people who stay in A.A. I noticed that A.A. meetings made me want to drink, and N.A. meetings made me want to get high on dope. I'd be fine before I went to a meeting, but I came out thinking about getting loaded. (I didn't, but I was sure wishing to. I could taste it. I could smell it. It was really tempting.) Other people have reported the same thing. Maybe staying in A.A. really does keep it from getting easier.

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

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is much easier to suppress a first desire
**     than to satisfy those that follow.
**       == François, Duc de la Rouchefoucauld (1630—80),
**            French courtier and moralist

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

Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat training for the Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Mon, March 7, 2011 4:56 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Andrea D."
Subject: Where do you get your bullshit?

The stuff you wrote about AA is inaccurate. No one EVER talks about forcing an alcoholic to join AA. GOD is not the only Higher Power. You can have your coffee cup be your higher power if you want.

Ass hole.

Hello Andrea,

Everything that you just wrote is wrong. LOTS of people are forced into A.A., starting with the people who are sentenced to A.A. meetings by a judge. Then there are all of the people who get fooled into paying a treatment center many thousands of dollars for a cure, only to discover that the "cure" is getting sent to A.A. meetings.

If you can have a cup of coffee as your "higher power", please explain how that cup of coffee is going to perform miracles on demand and make you quit drinking alcohol and save your life, and restore you to sanity, and take care of your will and your life for you, and then talk to you in Step 11 séances and tell you what to do and give you the power to carry out those orders. That sure is some mighty powerful coffee. What brand have you been drinking?

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Alcoholics Anonymous is not a "self-help group", it is
**    an "elf-help group". You pray to a doorknob or a bedpan
**    or a "god" or a "group of drunks" or some other strange
**    "higher power", and it will supposedly keep you sober.

Date: Mon, March 7, 2011 12:13 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "laurance"
Subject: :-) I responded to you on TMZ...

Hi-ho, Orange..I couldn't resist. Had to respond. :-)

"@Orange, comment #195

Hi, Orange, glad to see you here. You suggest, "And eating ice cream instead of drinking alcohol works if you work it, and always eat ice cream instead of drink."

Hah! Always eating ice cream will send me off to another 12-step cult. I can haul my fat butt to Overeaters Anonymous, and pray to the higher power to remove my blubber. Been there, done that, it didn't work. :-) "

Thanks for all you do.


Laura, a.k.a. Laurance, EFTCoaa listowner

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the laugh. You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You are not five pounds overweight, you are pregnant."

Date: Mon, March 7, 2011 11:34 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: jrh
Subject: Looking for the Actual Triennial Survey Questionnaire for Analysis

I am looking for the Actual Triennial Survey Questionnaire for Analysis. I can find the results, but I can not validate them without having the actual questionnaire and the actually method of random sampling. They are using interpolation to determine their actual numbers which is in question along with what the sample population was. The validity of the questionnaire depends on the order that the questions are asked and the wording of the actual questions. I wish to do statistical analysis to determine how they came up with these numbers.

I would appreciate your help.


JR H. (member of stinkin-thinkin.com)

Hello JR,

That is a great question. Alas, I've never seen one of those things. Perhaps one of the readers has a copy? And there are lots of years to cover, too.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If you think you are too small to be effective,
**     you have never been in bed with a mosquito."

UPDATE: 2013.08.14: We now have blank Triennial Survey forms from two years. That leaves many more to get.

  1. 1989_Membership_Survey_Form_Blank.pdf ; Size: 244 k
  2. 2007_Membership_Survey_Form_Blank.pdf ; Size: 58 k

[The previous letter from Mike G. is here.]

Date: Tue, March 8, 2011 10:27 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Mike G."
Subject: Greetings...again

Hello Orange,

Thank you for your reply to my recent note. In it you asked me why I didn't refer others to what I assume you feel are more effective methods in addressing substance abuse. The answer is simple; I had no knowledge of their existence. Furthermore I didn't see any need in looking for anything else. Although statically speaking AA does not work, it's working for me — for now anyway.

I've spent nearly all of my life in a small mid-western community and was employed for more than 40 years by a Fortune 500 corporation. It was that company who pointed me towards AA via their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the treatment center they referred me to: Fact is they offered nothing else!

Although AA's sixth tradition stipulates no alliances there seems to be a couple not addressed in your papers; i.e. EAP, the judicial system and treatment centers. Is anything in the works? Why aren't they pushing people towards SMART, Lifering, Rational Recovery or any of the others you mentioned?

One thing I regret not mentioning in my previous note so I'll say it now: Both Buchman and Wilson have provided millions of people a way to feel better about themselves and their purpose, whether real or imagined. And it could be argued that everything is imagined.

Enjoy your day,

Mike G.

Hello Mike,

Thanks for the response.

You say that you didn't refer people to other programs that work better than A.A. because you didn't know that they existed. Well now you know. So what are you doing now?

Your statement that

Both Buchman and Wilson have provided millions of people a way to feel better about themselves and their purpose, whether real or imagined.
is false — a complete reversal of reality. Both the Oxford Group and A.A. made people feel worse, and drove people to distraction, and induced mental breakdowns, and even drive people to suicide. They do not have a history of making people "feel better about themselves". Clergy at Oxford University wrote about what Buchman's Oxford Group cult was doing to people there:

"Very many touched by the Groups are touched only. They crash when the influence of the Group is removed (as, for example, during vacation) and they join the ranks of what has been described as the new Oxford problem of the 'castaways.'"   ...
      With even more emphasis the Rev. Dr. Graham Brown, Bishop in Jerusalem, is reported to have asked, "Is it any wonder that the clergy of Oxford have to act as an ambulance corps to look after the wrecks of Buchmanism?" while the Bishop of Durham speaks of "the trail of moral and intellectual wrecks which the progress of the Movement leaves behind."
The Groups Movement, The Most Rev. John A. Richardson, pages 28-31.
Morehouse Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 1935.
Also see:
Oxford and the Groups; The Influence of the Groups considered by Rev. G. F. Allen, John Maud, Miss B. E. Gwyer, C. R. Morris, W. H. Auden, R. H. S. Crossman, Dr. L. P. Jacks, Rev. E. R. Micklem, Rev. J. W. C. Wand, Rev. M. C. D'Arcy, S.J., Professor L. W. Grensted, Edited by R. H. S. Crossman
Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1934.

And now, in contemporary times, a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees, Dr. George E. Vaillant, proved that A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics. That is not an opportunity to feel better.

We have also been discussing the problem of the A.A. suicide rate, here And then there is the A.A. divorce rate. That is not an opportunity to feel better about oneself.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**    but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**      ==  Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of
**    Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**    Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**    and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**    1983, pages 283-286.

[The next letter from Mike_G is here.]

Date: Wed, March 9, 2011 5:31 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: AA Plugs on The West Wing

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.)

Screen writer & playwright Aaron Sorkin, the creator and an original writer of The West Wing, has been a huge advocate for AA. He's talked about this in at least one interview done years ago where he credited it for his own recovery. I use past tense because it's unclear if he has since seen the light.

I've been enjoying your site for years.


After sending my last message I googled Sorkin and AA. Found this link, among others:


Looks like he's still drinking the Kool-aide.

Please hide my last name and e-mail address in this and my previous two emails about Sorkin, West Wing, and AA. I work around two-hatters in higher places than me. Thanks.

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the information. That blog web page is something else, isn't it? So many untrue old cliches and slogans. Yes, I do believe he's still drinking the koolaid.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Wed, March 9, 2011 8:11 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "chad w."
Subject: thankyou

I am an atheist and a heroin addict of many years. I been through many treatments and all have proselytized A.A.. I have tried to work the "12 steps" and have only found moderate, temporary success. I have, however, found a few friendships through the A.A. program that I will always cherish.

In the area where I am from (toledo, ohio), meetings are traditionally ended by holding hands and saying the lords prayer. This annoys me to no end, how can a supposed open-minded organization, be so exclusionary in this day and age, it boggles the mind. Yet, no one gets it, I seem to be speaking gibberish when attempting to point out possible issues with the program. So thank you for showing some common sense and giving the, unfortunately, minority some hope that others too feel the same.

p.s. I can't imagine some of the mail you must get. It makes me chuckle just thinking about all those officious, ignorant A.A. types getting all worked up about somebody actually questioning their reasoning. When did seeking an open-minded education become seemingly criminal?

Hello Chad,

Thank you for the letter and thanks for the thanks. First off, did you know that you are living at my birthplace? Toledo, Ohio. Yep. I don't remember a thing about it; my parents were just there for a while.

About your last comment — "giving the minority some hope". No way, José. We are the vast majority. The Harvard Medical School stated that 80% of the successful sober people do it alone, on their own, without any "treatment" or "support group". The idea that "most sober people" do it with the 12 Steps is just some of the A.A./N.A. cult propaganda.

The reason that it seems like Steppism predominates is because the self-healers generally keep quiet and don't brag that they used to be an alcoholic or a drug addict and recovered without the 12 Steps. (President Nixon isn't the only one with a "Silent Majority".) But the Steppers broadcast their propaganda very loudly, and often, everywhere they can, so they create the impression that A.A. and N.A. are bigger and more popular and successful than they really are.

Now it is true that the Steppers have taken over most of the rehab centers. There is plenty of good money to be made by selling cult religion to the sick people. And addicts are easy targets because they are sick and desperate and cloudy-headed, and it's easy to tell them that they shouldn't criticize the quackery and superstitious nonsense because "Your best thinking got you here."

But even there, the times they are a'changin'. Paul Roman and Terry Blum at the Institute for Behavioral Research, Athens, Georgia, did the National Treatment Center Study Report in 1996, and they found that 93.1% of all treatment centers in the U.S.A. used the 12-Step approach to treating alcoholism and drug addictions. But when they repeated the survey in 2005, they found that only 75% of the treatment centers used the 12-Step method. (Look here.) That is a large change. A lot of treatment centers have abandoned the 12-Step approach because it doesn't work. People are waking up.

Lastly, yes, I get all kinds of hate mail. Some of it is vicious, and some of it is stupid, and some of it is downright funny. The way that some people can curse a bunch of obscenities while maintaining that they are much more spiritual than I am makes for good stand-up comedy. George Carlin would have a field day.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Where ideas are concerned, America can be counted on
**     to do one of two things: take a good idea and run it
**     completely into the ground, or take a bad idea and run
**     it completely into the ground."
**        —  George Carlin

Date: Wed, March 9, 2011 8:59 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Ray Smith"
Subject: Rick Ross on Charlie Sheen

Rick Ross twittered:

Charlie Sheen rants that AA is a "cult" of "stupid people." Well at least they aren't hooker happy druggies.
6:40 AM Feb 25th via web

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the tip. That Rick Ross is a strange one. I don't know why he is so committed to defending A.A., while pretending to be against cults.

And I really don't know what he thinks he is gaining by knocking Charlie Sheen.

Oh well, have a good day.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "I was born at night, but not last night!"

Date: Thu, March 10, 2011 2:39 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Nichole B."
Subject: sources

Where did you find your sources? Many people say that this site is all lies. I think it is something that really needs to be proved or disproved. Very compelling information.


Hello Nichole,

Thank you for the letter and the question. I go out of my way to make sure that everything on my web site is true. I research very carefully. It is not a pack of lies.

Right now, there are only two things that I am not sure about, and am questioning and researching further:

  1. Whether the A.A. Board of Trustees gets paid $70,000 per year, each.

    UPDATE (2011.03.28): It turns out that the trustees are not paid. But other people get lots more. The President and General Manager of A.A. Greg Muth gets $125,000 from both AAWS and the GSB (General Service Board of A.A.), for a total of $250,000 per year. And then his friend Thomas Jasper gets $469,850 for being a "Senior Advisor". And many others get salaries in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 each. Look here.

  2. Whether only 2% of alcoholics possess a gene that appears to modulate the risk of alcohol abuse, like a reader recently wrote to me.

Other than those two questions, I'm pretty sure that the rest of the web site is true and correct.

I get my information from a wide variety of sources. First, look at the bibliography, here.

Then I use the public library system to get books and publications from all over the country. They have a wonderful system of Interlibrary Loans (ILL) that has gotten me rare books and articles from all over the country. In a few cases, they got me the only copy of a rare old book that was available in all of the United States and Canada. That is great for doing research on obscure old things like the Oxford Group.

I described that system here and here.

Then of course I use the Internet for research wherever possible. Again, between the Internet and the public library system, an incredible number of databases are searchable and retrievable.

Then, readers send me tips about where to look to find something more.

And readers occasionally send me their old A.A. books and magazines, and articles of interest, and links.

And I'm always getting more books at used book stores.

It all adds up after 10 years.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The fact that there are many fools who tell lies does
**     not mean that there isn't such a thing as truth.

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

Canada Geese with goslings
The Family of 9, complete with legs sticking out every which way

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Tue, March 15, 2011 1:17 pm     (answered 21 March 2011)
From: "Julian N."
Subject: Help Me

My name is Julian and I am currently a "member" of AA. I am 23 years old. I have been in and out of the program since I was 19 years old, court and probation officer mandated back then. Voluntarily since 2009. My clean date is 9-12-2009. I am sitting at LBCC right now and so on edge. I have been going over your writings for days now. They have had a huge impact on my mind and my current stance in AA. I am about to break down and cry because I have been so manipulated by an old timing AA woman. I was led into a marriage to her incarcerated son which started in 2007 and I married him in 2010 a day before he got sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. She had convinced me to move into her house and continued to indoctrinate me for 8 months in her big books studies and her fascist way of looking at life, she even tried to indoctrinate me into Christianity via the 12 steps. I filed for a divorce in November and fled that house and everyone she knew. I even moved out of the town she lived in. I have been angry, confused, frustrated, ever since. What that women did was evil. She has so many of her little cadets teaching what her sponsor taught her and has formed a kind of clique via AA at their homes with their sponsees turning to Christianity and becomming ordained in the 12 steps what she calls convicted. The more convicted one is in those people's eyes, the more truth and spiritually they have attained. The more a person "seeks" God and can articulate it, the more successful they are in her eyes and her cronies eyes. She once called me the poster child of AA, I was one of them. I saw the workings from the inside looking out and now the outside. She is the least spiritual person I have ever met. She is lazy and insane, and did nothing but chain smoke and enslave her husband and talk on the phone about how spiritual she was and of course about AA. What you wrote about Bill W. being crazy fits her to a T. AA is her life, she has even told me that it is God's will for her to stay home and do nothing but read AA and Christian literature and go to groups and have books studies, she thinks it is her purpose and I fell for that for 8 months of my life, I considered her a spiritual mentor and ended up going to her church on Sundays and to meeting with her and enrolled in a marriage counceling course with a pastor and his wife at her church. I am not even a Christian. I started talking like her and believing everything she told me. I was completely cut off from the outside world and outside perspectives. She was cruel and filled with attitude when she talked to me sometimes, so argumentative but I have a strong mind so I always argued back. I never let my testing spirit leave although it did get covered up. I have noticed other people in AA share this same kind of behavior that she showed although at lower degrees, it is still there and it scares me.

I haven't even gone to get my 18 month chip because I don't know how to participate anymore. I have made the decision to not work the steps even though I actually stopped in October but have been lying to people telling them "I'm just slow" or making up other excuses instead of the truth, that I don't believe the steps will keep me sober, I already am sober and so no point in drudging up the past like that. I did a lot of things that were unhealthy but I already know that, so what's the point? I also don't believe in a monotheistic God, I recently have discovered the joys of Eastern philosophy and am much happy with that. I just keep getting the idea that when people say God they either are talking about the "christian" God or they no clue what the hell they are talking about they just blindly believe in it. My brain doesn't work that way. I am too scared to share this news with anyone that I think AA is a cult or maybe not even that far just that I have never really liked Bill Wilson and I don't want to follow his 12 suggestions and I don't want to be under the "guidance" of a group who has any form of social authority over my mind. I recently shared some of the views I discovered at fellowship after meeting at a pizza place a few days ago. A fellow member and my boyfriend (who is also a member) both said "The world according to Julian" in a very mocking way and laughed me off.

I don't know what to do Orange. I am sly enough to lie long enough until I move to San Francisco, but that is with the AA boyfriend and I'm not sure about that. I'm into freedom and I feel he may be too indoctrinated at this point to understand and accept my choice to leave AA without leaving me. God forbid I end up a "dry-drunk". Thank you so much for creating your website and doing all of your research. Please help me in that I need advice on how to proceed, who I can talk to, about what I am going through. All of them just say find my part in it. I didn't sign up to be manipulated or to feel how I feel. I signed because I needed to quit drinking and get some healthy friends. They don't even feel like real friends. It's all smiles and concern for an hour and then some food and pictures and that's it. I don't believe this stuff to be spirituality anymore. If you have any advice please share it with me as I am in dyer need of some acquaintances who are not involved in AA as I am afraid that the kind of behavior I explained above is more prevalent in this program that I know about and will occur again in the future if I continue my membership.

Genuinely, Julian L.

Hello Julian,

Thank you for the letter. It's a great letter, and letters like this make me feel very humble, because I'm not really a counselor, although I sometimes seem to get shoved into the role.

I know that you are on the right track. You have already figured things out. You know what the truth is, and you have wisely chosen to not continue with an organization where people want to make you their slave. You are just freaked out by idea of cutting all ties, and losing your social network, and even your boyfriend who shows no signs of waking up. The way that he put you down for voicing your opinion tells you that he doesn't want you thinking independently. He just wants you to conform to the cult. I know that you will be happier with somebody else who is willing to allow you mental freedom, and who has genuine respect for your thinking.

But you are not alone. There are millions of us. It's just that we don't often get together in groups. (That is just the natural consequence of thinking for yourself and being independent.)

But there are groups. Here is my usual list of groups, organizations, and methods. You don't have to practice any particular method to join the group and get some companionship and counseling and comfort. After all, you are already sober. But it sure does help to have somebody sane to talk to now and then. So here are some suggestions:

  1. SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
    Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.

  2. WFS (Women For Sobriety) also has online chat groups: (guys ignore this one)
    For local group meetings in your area you can also call 1-800-333-1606.

  3. SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
    SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious content of widely available 12-Step programs.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet, and they are also starting meeting groups in various cities.

  5. Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS)
    HAMS is peer-led and free of charge. HAMS offers information and support via a chat room, an email group, and live meetings — as well is the articles on this web site.

  6. Moderation Management

  7. Rational Recovery
    Rational Recovery is no longer "a recovery group", it's a book, and a technique — basically the same idea as the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

  8. And then there are these forums and message groups:

  9. You can also get some more links from the start of the links page.

I also lean towards the Eastern philosophies, so you get some sympathy there. When your acquaintance and boyfriend mocked you for talking about such a philosophy, they revealed that the "religious freedom" in A.A. is a sham. So is their "spirituality". They just want obedient conformists who repeat their favorite superstitions. I'm glad that you are going to leave them behind.

Remember that wonderful old maxim: "Unto thine own self be true."

So have a good day now, and a good life, and get to work creating some new friendships and relationships that are healthier and freer and more honest.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Avoid the company of loud and agressive persons.
**     They are a vexation to the spirit.
**       == Buddha

Date: Fri, March 11, 2011 2:39 pm     (answered 21 March 2011)
From: "Jamie G."
Subject: [Recovery 2 Day] "When a man says i cannot he has made a...

Jamie Grantham posted in Recovery 2 Day.

"When a man says 'I cannot' he has made a suggestion to himself. He has weakend his power of accomplishing that which other wise would of been accomplished."
.............Muhammad Ali

Yes indeed. To say, "I am powerless over alcohol" is a kind of suicide.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If you think you can, you can.
**     And if you think you can't, you're right."
**       ==  Business executive Mary Kay Ash
**     "Argue for your limitations, and sure
**     enough, they're yours."
**       ==  Richard Bach, The Reluctant Messiah

Date: Thu, March 17, 2011 10:20 am     (answered 21 March 2011)
From: "Daniel M."
Subject: AA and Catholicism


I just stumbled on your site and I am quite interested in what you have to say. I am in AA and have been two years sober, and have not noticed a strong cultish tendency myself. I also happen to be Roman Catholic, and one of the reasons I stay in AA is that I feel it is quite compatible with Catholic beliefs and practices. Christians, too, believe in surrendering one's own will to the will of God, as is attested to numerous times in Scripture. Just look at the Lord's prayer for one example — "Thy will be done," or Jesus' prayer in the garden where he says "Not my will, but thine be done."

Also, I find the practice of confession to be quite healing. Such a moral "house cleaning" is a big part of AA. I have found that being rigorously honest and acknowledging my character defects has been helpful for me. It keeps me out of situations that would cause me anxiety, and thus lead to thoughts of drinking to quell the anxiety. Having a clean conscience has been an invaluable part of my sobriety, and also a key part to my practice of Catholicism.

Clearly there are parts of AA that are not compatible with Christianity — the idea that one's higher power can be anything, even an object or a group of people pops into mind. However, I have heard many times about 12 step programs that we can "take what we want and leave the rest." I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on these matters.

Daniel M.

Hello Daniel,

Thank you for the letter and the question. It's a good question. My first reaction is, "If you like confession, then by all means go to the Church and attend confession. But there is so much more to A.A. than just the confession routine. In spite of a few points of similarity, A.A. is not a Christian religion."

First off, there is far too much negativity in Alcoholics Anonymous. The Catholic Church will not tell you to do penance by doing 100 repetitions of the chant,
"I am stupid and sinful and weak. I must not do so much stinkin' thinkin'. I cannot think for myself. I cannot ever recover. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. I am stupid and weak and sinful and only want my own way about everything, and it will always be that way. I should just follow the orders of my sponsor."

The Church will not tell you that you cannot ever be reformed and made into a better, recovered person.

Then there are a zillion more problems with the A.A. philosophy. The Church will not tell you to "Let Go and Let God." The Christian philosophy is, "Get yourself straightened out and get to work. There is a lot for you do do. Speak truth. Feed the children. Clothe the naked. Promote peace. Do not just sit on your duff and wait for God to do it."

The Church will not tell you that you can worship any old God, anything you imagine: God, Jesus, Golden Calf, tree, rock, bedpan, doorknob, Beelzebub, Satan, whatever you like.

Years ago, I wrote a web page that lists many of the conflicts between the Christian religion and the Alcoholics Anonymous religion, here: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

Also see

  1. Cardinal Hinsley's criticism of Buchmanism (the A.A. theology) and

  2. the Vatican ban on Buchmanism.

We also discussed the conflicts between A.A. teachings and the Catholic Church's teachings in a couple of previous letters:

  1. Catholicism and A.A.

  2. a letter to Catholic Priests

Oh by the way, remember that when you are confessing things to your sponsor, you are not confessing to someone who has taken a sacred oath to keep the confession confidential. You get no such guarantee. I have heard of several stories of ex-A.A. members discovering, much to their horror, that their sponsors deliberately blabbed their Fifth Step confessions all over town as revenge for them quitting A.A.

Have a good day and a good life.


*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
**     The Devil always builds a chapel there;
**     And twill be found upon examination,
**     The later has the largest congregation.
**       ==  Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman

Date: Wed, March 16, 2011 11:45 am
From: "Sheila H."
Subject: AA

You are wrong

Date: Mon, March 14, 2011 7:34 pm     (answered 21 March 2011)
From: "Rick B."
Subject: just curious

Have you ever had a drinking problem and if so have you stopped? How?

Rick B.

Hello Rick,

Yes, I had a bad problem. I drank too much for nearly 20 years. And smoked too much for 33 years. It got the the point where I was so sick that I was going to die. And I knew it. I knew that time was running out. I guessed that I had about 3 years left to live.

And my doctor said so, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

I thought it over for another month, and got another case of beer, and drank on it, and thought about it some more, and then finally decided to change my life and live.

Funny how that works. Previously, I had despaired of ever being able to just quit all of my bad habits, and then, one day, I just did.

That was 10 years ago. I haven't had a drink or a cigarette or a hit of dope since.

The rest of the story is described here: 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/      *
**    To have freedom is only to have what is absolutely necessary to enable
**    us to be what we ought to be, and to possess what we ought to possess.
**    == Rahel

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 5 August 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters228.html