Letters, We Get Mail, CCLVII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Brandon_D ]

Date: Thu, August 18, 2011 10:05 pm     (answered 20 August 2011)
From: "Brandon D."
Subject: re "big book" of AA

I'm not sure if you've heard, but the original manuscripts of the "big book" have been published. I regularly attend AA, and I laughed a little bit when I read some of the things you listed as "cult" signs — I have seen some people do those things before. There are undoubtedly people who show up to AA who subscribe to some pretty absurd ideas. I (unfortunately) hear people mistakenly claim that the "big book" was written by bill and bob — when it was actually a collaboration of the first 100 or so members, heavily edited and modified by the leading doctors and specialists on alcoholism from that time, and also reviewed and edited by various clergy and spiritual gurus. It wasn't the work of one man by any means, and it wasn't divinely inspired either — it's a shame some misguided people say such things. I don't plan to sway your opinion on AA, I just want to take a minute to provide my own perspective, since I felt some of the things you wrote weren't quite a fair representation.

Hello Brandon,

Thanks for the letter.

Yes, the Big Book was a collaboration of many people. It is described here.

As far as the accuracy of some of the stories in the book: it's not a math book, so due to the nature of the subject matter, it can't be 100% factual. It's a combination of biography, text book, and history book (among other things). By nature, history is an accepted amalgam of what actually transpired — all "history" books in the world have questionable facts in them, and many of the biographies I've read were embelished despite their non-fiction classification. Basically what I am saying is that the AA "big book" is no different than other history or biographical books in this respect. Hell, the "big book" is actually more factual and convincing than some science books — try reading about string theory....

Although... I've heard varied other things, some of which make me shake my head. Some people definitely sound eerily brainwashed and use nothing but "group speak" — which I try to avoid. Some people also have religious-like devotion to every word in the AA literature. However, I don't really consider these people any different than the evangelicals who claim the bible to be literal and factual. These people can be found in any organization — religious or otherwise. I could even (convincingly) make a case that military organizations encourage the same sort of zealous support for the government. Once again, I don't think AA is really exceptional in this respect. It's just another organization that's got some very fervent members. I think it's also important to note that many who come to AA have other mental illnesses besides alcoholism. One thing I heard in a meeting once — "we're all here because we're not all there".

On the whole, I think your analysis was very thorough and mostly factual. The interpretation of the facts seems a bit critical and I think it's apparent that you've got a grudge against AA.

However, I noticed a couple things that you did get "wrong" and that don't really jive with the cult theory.

  1. --AA never claims to be the "only" solution. In the book, it explicitly says that AA does not have a monopoly on recovery, and does not wish to.

    Sorry, but A.A. very much claims to be The Only Way. Those lines about not having a monopoly on recovery were just Bill Wilson's P.R. tricks to make A.A. sound better to prospective recruits.

    The Big Book also says:

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

    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 44.

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

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

    Then Wilson wrote:

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

    See these two items for more information:

    1. Bait and Switch: First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.

    2. The Cult Test: Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY

  2. --Members who have relapsed and drank again aren't shunned. At least not where I come from. It's not the spirit of inclusiveness to chastise and castigate members for their slips. The only goal is to help people, and the only requirement to join is the desire to stop drinking — you don't even have to stop, you just need the *desire* to stop.

    I think this one is highly variable. I've heard from people who were not even allowed to speak at meetings after a relapse.

  3. --There are no formal leaders, there are no dues or fees, this doesn't jive with cult theory at all.

    Of course there are formal leaders. They are called Group Secretaries and Old-Timers. The dues are voluntary, although I've seen meetings where the pressure to put more in the basket was pretty great. Like passing the basket around three times in a row, insisting that the donations were not yet enough to cover the rent.

    At the highest level, we have General Managers like Greg Muth getting $250,000 per year. And Greg's lawyer friend Thomas Jasper got $467,000 as a going-away present.

    And Greg Muth authorized suing poor A.A. members in Mexico and Germany for printing their own out-of-copyright literature, and committing perjury against A.A. members. (See the document here.)

  4. --About the freedom to be honest: I have a friend who has never worked the 12 steps, and does not plan to. He routinely shares that in meetings and he is never chastised. He is a good man, and he helps others.

    Again, that is highly variable. There are dogmatic meetings where such opinions are not allowed. It's nice that you found a loose, tolerant meeting where such freedom of thought is allowed.

  5. The 12 steps are a *suggested* program of recovery, they are not a requirement. Putting down a drink is the goal of AA, but the steps go beyond that to rectify the deep rooted emotional/mental/behavioral patterns which are associated with alcoholism (addiction). Most hardcore addicts and alcoholics have a host of unsavory pathological patterns that were acquired in active addiction — the steps aim to replace these with what society considers "good". It's really not very different from cognitive behavioral therapy in that respect.

    "Suggested"? The A.A. slogan says: "Work the Steps or Die!" And another says: "It is suggested that you Work The Steps, just like how, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is "suggested" that you pull the ripcord to save your life."

    And Bill Wilson wrote:

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

    The Steps do not do anything like "rectify the deep rooted emotional/mental/behavioral patterns which are associated with alcoholism (addiction)." The Steps are a program for brainwashing new recruits. They induce guilt and feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness.

    Then you repeated the standard A.A. stereotype of "the alcoholic": "Most hardcore addicts and alcoholics have a host of unsavory pathological patterns that were acquired in active addiction". Again, that is the A.A. guilt-induction and weakening routine. A.A. propagandists declare that they want to remove the stigma of alcoholism while they actually work to increase it, because that will weaken people and make them more likely to surrender to the cult.

    Then, "the steps aim to replace these with what society considers "good"." Again, Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion does not improve people.

    Then you tried to equate Frank Buchman's brainwashing practices with sane psychotherapy: "It's really not very different from cognitive behavioral therapy in that respect." Wrong, totally wrong. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy does not make people list and confess their sins and "moral shortcomings" endlessly.

  6. As far as "higher power" there are atheist groups of AA, some of which use the concept of "Good Orderly Direction" to replace the concept of a supreme being. The "good orderly direction" isn't unique to AA, it's just based on traditional morality and good behavior. Things like being kind to your family, working hard, being honest, etc. Their practice of turning their will and life over means pursuing a morally desirable lifestyle, and trying to avoid their vices.

    I know that A.A. has token Negroes, like the "atheist groups". They do not disprove the statement that A.A. is a cult religion.

    Worshipping "Good Orderly Direction" as your God is absurd. The 12 Steps are a list of miracles that will supposedly happen if people confess and grovel before God enough:

    • God will manage your unmanageable life in Step 1,
    • God will "restore you to sanity" in Step 2,
    • God will take care of your will and your life for you in Step 3,
    • God will remove your defects in Step 7,
    • God will talk to you in Step 11 séances and give you secret work orders and the power to carry them out, and
    • God will give you a "spiritual experience" in Step 12.
    • And somewhere in the Steps, God is supposed to make you quit drinking, although none of the Steps actually say anything about quitting drinking.

    No way is worshipping "Good Orderly Direction" going to do that.

    Again, the claim that you don't have to believe anything is a bait-and-switch trick, or rather, several of them:

    Lastly, you gave me a list of flowery wonderful-sounding buzz-words, like: "traditional morality and good behavior. Things like being kind to your family, working hard, being honest, etc." But that has nothing to do with practicing Frank Buchman's cult religion. And those are not the results that have actually come from A.A. members. What we really get from practicing Buchmanism is things like the Midtown Group raping under-age girls.

  7. The "defect of character" thing does sound hokey and cultish, until they are examined, and it turns out they are just the 7 deadly sins. Things like excessive greed, pride, lust, are considered undesirable by just about all of western civilization; it's not unique to AA at all.

    "Just the Seven Deadly Sins"? Just a piece of very obnoxious guilt-inducing Medieval Christianity in this "non-religious" quit-drinking program? And it's a very perverted list of sins, too. Murder is not on that list as a deadly sin, but sex is. That is sick religion. No thanks. We did that one for a thousand years. It's over. We are not doing that again.

    Do you actually honestly believe that sex, sloth, gluttony, and pride are bigger deadly sins than murder? If not, why did you even bring up that piece of old Church garbage? Other than the fact that Bill Wilson insanely raved at length about the Seven Deadly Sins in his second book of cult religion, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"...

  8. Also, I think it's interesting that the "success rates" were much higher in the early days. They currently are dragged down by those who are forced to show up for various reasons, through courts or other outside forces. I think it's obvious that these people have no vested interest in long-term sobriety. Further, many people who enter are not even alcoholic — they are simply heavy drinkers experiencing unpleasant consequences. An example is a parent who drinks too much and makes a fool out of themselves at the PTA meeting — then goes to AA for a couple months to atone for their blunder. Another is the celebrity who crashes their car or ruins a movie because of their substance abuse then attends meetings for a while. These people can then leave AA and refrain from drinking all by themselves, and they do this with ease, because they were never really alcoholic in the first place...

    No, the success rates were not higher in the "good old days". A.A. was just as much of a failure in the beginning as it is now. It's the same old cult religion and the same old failure. When Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that A.A. had a great success rate, he was just lying to promote his new racket. In moments of candid honesty, he revealed the real truth about the early days of A.A.:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

    At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

    There is much more about the failure rate of early A.A. here.

    I agree that forcing people to attend A.A. meetings is a bad thing, but A.A. is not getting "dragged down" by the court-ordered and treatment-ordered attendees. A.A. does not work at all, and never did, remember?

    Your dichotomy of "heavy drinkers" versus "real alcoholics" is a false dichotomy, and it's also The Real Scotsman logical fallacy. Claiming that those people who quit drinking without practicing the 12-Step religion were not "real alcoholics" is a fraudulent dodge to avoid seeing that A.A. is unnecessary for quitting drinking. There is zero evidence to support such a claim. Plenty of real alcoholics, including me, have quit drinking without practicing Bill Wilson's version of Frank Buchman's religion.

  9. The AA solution works very well for the demographic it was designed to work for, but it's certainly not for everyone. It works for the most difficult hardcore alcoholics who are unable to quit on their own and who are inexorably headed toward jail, an institution, or death. In order for the program to work, however, the entrant must agree that Christian morality is desirable, and they must also be willing to strive for Christian morality. I also have to say that if God is removed from the program, it can easily be practiced by a buddhist — the general tenets make a lot of sense — removing the "self" and refraining from pride, greed, lust, wrath, envy, sloth, gluttony. Buddhists don't drink either.

    The AA "solution" does not "work very well for the demographic"... A.A. does not work at all. And it has nothing to do with whether God is in "the program" or not.

    A.A. was not "designed to work for a demographic". Alcoholics Anonymous was not "designed" at all. Bill Wilson simply stole a branch of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion and renamed it to Alcoholics Anonymous. Then Bill wrote down Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination and brainwashing practices and called them the 12 Steps.

    That is why the 12 Steps are all about listing and confessing your sins, and claiming that you are powerless and insane, but a "higher power" will save you, and take care of your will and your mind and your life for you, and then you will talk to "God" in séances, and He will give you work orders and the power to carry them out, and then you will go recruiting for the cult, but the 12 Steps never actually tell you to quit drinking. The 12 Steps are not about quitting drinking. They are about practicing Frank Buchman's cult religion.

    The "general tenets" of Buchmanism do not "make a lot of sense". They are sheer insanity. And Buchmanism is not "Christian morality". Buchmanism and Alcoholics Anonymous bear more resemblance to selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety than they do to Christianity:

    • "Fake it 'til you make it."
    • "Dole out the truth by teaspoons, not buckets."
    • "We are not saints."
    • "Deceive the readers and lure them in."
    • "Yes, Higher Power, I will be your groveling servant for all eternity if you will make me quit drinking."

    Once again, I'm going to ask the question that no true-believer A.A. member has ever answered honestly. Can we please have some of that famous A.A. "rigorous honesty"?

    What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

    Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
    Or even several years later?
    And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
    How about 11 years and 21 years?

    (HINT: the answers are here.)

    Also, you should read the file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment before you claim that A.A. works.


Have a good day, Brandon.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The principles of Washington's farewell address are still sources
**     of wisdom when cures for social ills are sought. The methods of
**     Washingtons's physicians, however, are no longer studied.
**         == Thurman Arnold

[The next letter from Brandon_D is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Andrew_M ]

Date: Tue, August 2, 2011 3:54 am     (answered 21 August 2011)
From: "Andrew M."
Subject: Priory Lodge Health Care Ltd

Hi Orange

The following link refers to a company called Priory Lodge Health Care, which is, in my opinion, aggressively taking over community and residential care of society's most vulnerable members in the UK, without, I believe, proper open and informed consultation with their clients (personally I think unwitting customers would be a better term), their friends, familes and advocates and the general public.

The vulnerable people who have little choice but to fall into their hands include: 1) The elderly, including dementia sufferers 2) The mentally ill 3) The mentally diabled 4) Addicts and alcoholics in 12 step rehabs.

I have only recently discovered that my local community mental health resource centre through which the mentally ill must access psychiatric and therapeutic care in the community and in residential facilites is actually run by this company, which appears to be but part of a larger commercial entity called the Priory Group. I believe this is a sharp lesson in just how complacent we have been in the UK over the stealthy intrusion of an unholy alliance between big business and steppism in the pursuit of money, power and control. When the same group that forces those with addiction problems into 12step rehab gains control of mental health care I think it's time to be very concerned: The following is (in part) a front for promoting steppism, in my view.

Priory Lodge Healthcare Ltd run my local "Community Mental Health resource centre".

They also run residential homes and 12 step treatment centres. They run residential homes for the mentally disabled and I believe they also run homes for the elderly.

We've been too complacent about the covert influence of steppism in the UK.

Hello Martin,

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, your link didn't come through the email. But a search found:


— which does appear to be the company that you are talking about. Yes, I see a lot of P.R. fluff about how nice they are to old people and the mentally ill.

I agree that it is chilling to have Steppers pretending to be such compassionate care-givers. I think that people who sell 12-Step treatment should be put in prison for fraud. Allowing them to also sell mental health care to sick people is really over the top.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the most striking differences between a
**     cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

May 23, 2009, Saturday: Day 23, continued:

grassy bay at Waterfront Park
Geese, River, and Bridges

This picture was shot with a widener lens screwed onto the front of an already wide-angle lens, which makes it almost a fish-eye lens. You can see from the curvature of the structures that the picture is getting distorted towards being a fish-eye picture.

Carmen the Canada Goose gosling and Her Family
Carmen the Canada Goose gosling and Her Family
Ah yes, remember Carmen? Well actually, the previous pictures of her were just the day before, but it was a long side trip of photos before getting back to her.

The father is in the foreground center, and the mother is behind him. It's hard to see which gosling is Carmen in this photo, but I'm pretty sure that she is the gosling in the front left.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Kenneth_A ]

Date: Fri, July 29, 2011 7:25 pm     (answered 21 August 2011)
From: "Kenneth A."
Subject: [Cannabis for Alcohol Dependence] My newest published article...
To: "Cannabis for Alcohol Dependence"

My newest published article


Ten Tips to Change Your Drinking Habits


Harm reduction offers a positive and non-dogmatic approach to alcohol problems which can appeal to people who would never consider AA or a rehab program. Whether you want to be a safer drinker, cut back, or quit drinking entirely, harm reduction will...

Okay Kenneth,

I'll give this a plug. Whatever works... Whatever helps.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [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

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#P ]

Date: Sat, August 20, 2011 4:05 pm     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: "P"
Subject: Re: please keep email hid

Thanks ao , it's midnight here in uk , so will go on forum tomo
As just been Reading the site for 4 hours !
I don't mean this is a funny way but wish I had someone close by like
yourself who could guide me
Not like a sponsor
But learn about life and my mind so I can handle it all,
I nearly went back to aa of late but swerved it
I do miss it
Is aa addictive
I am no longer a fan but the few who did stick by me after leaving who
I meet are good people
I just want to leave , but feel
Sorry to go on
I know you are a busy man
Thanks !
Will check the forum tomo
Can forums leave viruses for others who go onto it as I got new pc and
want to look after it.
Also a question I've been dying to ask , would there ever be a thing
as ao meetings?
Surely of so people would come and we could all support each other
without all the bs aa offers !
Who knows ?
I did write back years ago saying you should do a book and that's no
"so the futures bright, the futures orange" .... That's a slogan
advertisment for orange cell phones, have you heard it?
It applies very much to all you have done !
I know you are a humble man but there are hundreds plus ! Who are
bring helped by you n the orange papers
So thanks again
Peace bro

Hello again, P.,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

I'm not really in the guru business but I'll be happy to answer any questions as best I can.

Yes, A.A. can be habit-forming. I don't like to over-use the word "addiction", because withdrawal from alcohol or heroin is a whole different world than withdrawal from A.A. Nevertheless, cult withdrawal can be painful and disorienting.

And if you want a piece of advice for today, it is to work on staying in the here and now more. Just stay here, now. Don't think about the past, don't worry about the future, don't think about other places and other times. Just keep your awareness focussed in the here and now.

Of course you won't succeed. Your awareness will soon get dragged away by some thought or memory. When you find that has happened, you just drag your awareness back here and try again. It's a work in progress. It takes years. It takes a lifetime.

Do not criticize yourself for losing the here and now. That is counter-productive. Do not find fault with yourself, or think that you are not very good at it. Just keep coming back to the here and now. You can do that exercise all day long, anywhere.

One of the side effects of staying in the here and now is that it minimizes the effects of a bad past. If you dwell on the past, it gets a greater grip on you. You will remember and feel the pain more. If you focus on the here and now, your presence and sanity increase, and the past fades away.

So have a good day now.

Oh, and forums cannot leave viruses. Well not usually. It would take something like a specially-modified picture with a virus in it, and there aren't any such things on my system. Or it would take a malicious script. And I don't have any of them either.

And yes, I've heard of the Orange phone company. They have a tiny operation in the USA. I actually got a photograph of a "Powered By Orange" advertisement on the side of an electric train. But I haven't seen them lately. I think they got squeezed out. Now if someone would please squeeze out Qwest (which is a very dishonest phone company in the western part of the USA).

About AO meetings: I've thought about it, but I think that the existing organizations like SMART and SOS are doing just fine. I want to encourage and grow them, rather than go into competition with them for members.

Have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     During the height of the Cold War, the spiritual teacher
**     Ram Dass was asked whether the world was facing a nuclear
**     Armageddon or, as some were prophesying, a "new age"
**     of peace and love and deeper awareness.
**     Ram Dass said,
**     "I used to think I should have an opinion on this. But
**     as I examined it, I saw that if it's going to be Armegeddon
**     and we're going to die, the best thing to do to prepare for
**     it is to quiet my mind, open my heart, and deal with the
**     suffering in front of me. And if it's going to be the new age,
**     the best thing to do is quiet my mind, open my heart, and
**     deal with the suffering in front of me."
**     Is the moral calculus any different today?'
**       ==  From Sy's notebook, 'The Sun' magazine, October 2009

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#P2 ]

Date: Mon, August 22, 2011 2:06 pm     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: P.
Subject: [www.orange-papers.info] the forum is great

Hello Orange,

Hi Terrance
the forum is great
I feel more part of being apart from the cult if that makes sense
I did write you a few times
but mainly to say thanks and well done on 10 years !

I am a bit of a fan lol , but not in a silly way

anyhow thanks

your papers and the forum is helping

on a sadder note, its only really hit me last 2 nights , the truth that it
is a cult
I knew for a while, but the sickening feeling is awful,
but that will fade


Pip, I called myself Pip for we are all pips of the orange lol

im P from London ,who wrote u ages ago on the OP ,i got a similar home to
yours I wrote
anyhow, I know u always busy


Hello again, P.,

Don't be down on yourself for having been a member of a cult for a while. We can only learn as fast as we can learn. Sometimes things just happen because it was pretty inevitable.

So now, back to the here and now.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young sang a great song:

Do not let the past
Remind us
Of who we are not now.

And have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The secret of health for both mind and body is
**    not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future,
**    but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
**      ==  Buddha

[The previous letter from Amy_E is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Amy_E ]

Date: Sat, August 20, 2011 6:27 pm     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: "Amy E."
Subject: Re: addiction and AA


You misread me. I read your whole reply this time. I said I hardly go to meetings; I still do sometimes.

Okay, Amy,

Thanks for the clarification. I still do believe that you are keeping yourself sober. "Hardly going to meetings" isn't doing it for you.

Nobody but you holds your hand every Saturday night.

I quit through a long process which involved AA. I know that I did not quit without it. It's my life, don't tell me what happened in my life. I was there!

I also quit through a process that involved A.A. I had a cocaine-snorting child-molesting Internet child pornographer "counselor" lecturing us about how we had to have a "higher power" in our recovery programs, and then he sent us to at least three 12-Step meetings per week.

I quit the 12-Step dance as soon as I learned about SMART.

Ten years later, I have 10 years of sobriety. My crazy counselor went to prison for two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, child pornography, and possession of cocaine. He just got out a couple of years ago.

Although A.A. was "involved in" my recovery, I do not give it any credit for my good health now. What A.A. really gave me was a refresher course in how cults work, and for that, I am grateful.

AA is not now and never was a religion.

Baloney. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. A.A. is a religion now, and it always was. Half of the 12 Steps talk about God, for Heaven's sake. Bill Wilson even wrote in the Big Book:

At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

That is a religion.

Many AAs quit smoking using the 12 steps.

Oh really? How many is "many"? The A.A. and N.A. meetings that I went to had more smokers than an opium den.

I am still waiting to hear why you are so worked up about this — there has to be a story there.

I told you, it is a despicable crime to foist ineffective quack medicine on sick people and lie to them about how well it works.

That's the story.

And I don't think you have the statistics to back up much of what you say-for example, who took that poll of how many AA's smoke? Do you know? I don't. I know many who don't, I know many who do. But I do not have statistics and I don't think you do either.


Now this is another form of denial. All that you have to do is go to A.A. meetings and see for yourself. (That is a form of statistics. Observation produces statistics.) If you have been going to A.A. meetings for 15 years, then you have seen both the smoking meetings, which they pretty much all used to be, and the newer non-smoking meetings where everybody runs outside as soon as they can get a smoke break.

I'll have to look around for some formal studies of smoking in A.A. I know I've seen some such statistics, but I don't remember where it was.

P.S.: Speaking of statistics, you still have not answered the question about what percentage of the newcomers to A.A. get 10-year coins. Or 5-year. Or even 1-year.

Have a good day now.

== 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)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Jennifer_M ]

Date: Sun, August 21, 2011 6:21 am     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: "Jennifer M."
Subject: AA

Hello, I watched some of your utube videos and read some of your website last night after trying to hit two meetings unsuccessfully with my four year old. I feel like I'm addicted to AA and want to stop going. However, I am afraid to stop because I have heard over and over for 14 years that I will drink again. Is there some type of online community where I can chat with people who have successfully left AA and did not drink? I am so fucking tired of trying to get to meetings. I am a single Mom and trying to juggle it all is exhausting.

Hello Jennifer,

Thanks for the question, and you definitely came to the right place. There are LOTS of online meetings and chat groups for people who want non-cult recovery.

Here is the list:

  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.

By the way, those aren't my videos. They are done by a couple of guys by the names of James and Mike, who also go by the name of "BlameDeNile". I'm planning to do some videos, when I get all of the software tools together, but my first videos will be about cute little goslings.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**     and that your will power is useless, is not
**     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Roxanne_B ]

Date: Sun, August 21, 2011 6:47 pm     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: "Roxanne B."

What do you have to replace AA that works better?
R B.

Hello Roxanne,

Since A.A. does more harm than good, and kills more alcoholics than it saves, we don't need anything to replace A.A. No help, no program, no treatment, nothing, will still be better than A.A. You can sit on a seashore and watch the sun set, and that will be better than A.A.

But there are organized better things available. I just reprinted the list in the previous letter, here, so check it out.

And have a good day now.

== 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.

[The next letter from Roxanne_B is here.]

May 23, 2009, Saturday: Day 23, continued:

Carmen the Canada Goose gosling
Carmen the Canada Goose gosling
[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[The previous letter from Mike_G is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters257.html#Mike_G ]

Date: Sun, August 21, 2011 9:54 pm     (answered 23 August 2011)
From: "Mike G."
Subject: Sorry it's been so long....

Hello Orange,

Thank you for helping to clear up why EAP the courts and others might be pushing people towards AA. Like so much of the stuff you say, it makes sense.

Before I go any further I want to reemphasize that I'm one of those proponents of AA. It saved my ass and perhaps my life. I have no doubt whatever my life would be done or miserable without what I learned in AA. Like I said previously AA's statistics stink, but it worked for me. And since it worked for me I believe it can work for others too.

I finally read your introduction today. Sounds like you came across at least one AA asshole early on. Not only was he an AA asshole but he held a position of authority, the "counselor" of your group in therapy. Mine never had a problem with drugs or alcohol. She didn't chop anyone off at the knees, but subtly moved the tone of the sessions to positive ways of viewing things.

Not everyone in AA is an asshole. Not everyone thinks they must control every aspect of their sponcee's lives. I've heard of people telling others to get off antidepressants, of telling them to kick out the old lady and the kids, but those are the exceptions. They're sort of like your counselor.hooked on authority.

I'm sorry to hear that your counselor was such a bad representation of something I believe to be good and full of good intentions and ideals. Do you have anything against my favorite quote it comes from p. 77 in the Big Book; "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us."?

It doesn't matter where we go we will run into people like that. They can be found in the corporate world, in government and even in organized religion. I've lived in Illinois all of my life. Take a look at the "records" of our governors over the past 40-50 years; I think at least five of them ended up in jail.

I don't think you are being fair in saying AA is a cult, but it sure does get people's attention I'll bet. I've never been asked to give everything I own to AA, that I must pound on doors, hand out flowers or drink cool aide. If we had a cult wouldn't we have a living leader? Almost all the cults that come to my mind have had one. If you want to point out Bill Wilson he's been dead for nearly 40 years and not very many hold him in very high regard. His arrogance, conceit and hypocrisy are clearly visible to almost everyone who's been around for a while.

No I haven't found anything in your papers where you have misquoted anything in the Big Book. Some of your opinions are skewed, however, based on the behaviors of a few assholes in and out of the program.

What I was trying to point out to you was Mr. Wilson's tendency to exaggerate. In the foreword to the first edition he said "we are more than 100 men and women." That's his first exaggeration. It was actually less than 80. Then in the first chapter, Bill's story, on page 15 he says, "I've seen hundreds of families set on their feet." and in the same paragraph he says, "In one western city and its environs there are one thousand of us and our families." It's jumped just a tad from the foreword. There are other similar examples contained in the book. As you already know, in many ways Bill was full of shit.

In a way I feel like you are bashing me in your papers because when you bash AA, in a way you are bashing me. Like I said at the onset, it worked for me. It really doesn't matter that I'm in the minority. One other thing; I believe it could work for many more. Over two million worldwide ain't too shabby. How many can your other methods claim?



Hello Mike,

Thanks for the letter.

Starting at the top, I try very hard to not stereotype A.A. members. I never said that they are all bad or all crazy or all brainwashed. In fact, I have a mythical organization called the Newcomers Rescue League that consists of good people who go to A.A. meetings to save newcomers from bad sponsors.

The big problem is that A.A. is fundamentally flawed as a cure for alcoholism or addiction or anything else. A.A. is just a recycled old pro-Nazi cult religion that Bill Wilson stole from Frank Buchman. The 12 Steps are about brainwashing new cult recruits, not about how to quit drinking.

You asked if I had a problem with:

At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

Yes, I have a huge problem with that. When the judge sentences people to A.A. meetings, they are supposed to be going to a recovery group, not a religion. Bill Wilson was pulling another bait-and-switch trick there when he first declared that A.A. was for quitting drinking, and then he revealed that the real purpose was something else, like for people to be groveling servants in his favorite cult religion.

Yes, my child-molesting counselor was a creep and a criminal. But he wasn't a rarity. Such things have turned out to be pretty commonplace. Did you read about the Midtown Group? How about Clancy's Pacific Group?

When you say, "It doesn't matter where we go we will run into people like that," that is Minimization and Denial. Yes, there are creeps all over the world, but they are not supposed to be running the recovery programs and giving out bad medical advice, or forcing people to join their religion.

I'm sure that you believe that A.A. saved your life. Otherwise, you wouldn't still be in it. But your fervent belief is only evidence that A.A. is good at brainwashing and fooling people, and making them believe irrational things, like that practicing an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties will make people quit drinking, and make them into good people, too.

Your life was not saved by Alcoholics Anonymous or by the 12 Steps, or by reading the Big Book, or by A.A. meetings, or by an A.A. sponsor. What saved your life is you decided to quit drinking, and then you did it. The fact that you didn't do it before going to some A.A. meetings is irrelevant. (Of course you didn't quit before you quit. That's impossible.)

I did the same thing too. When the pain got to be great enough, I decided that I had had it with dying from alcohol and tobacco, and I quit both.

You finished with the lines:

One other thing; I believe it could work for many more. Over two million worldwide ain't too shabby. How many can your other methods claim?

That is more evidence that A.A. is a cult. A.A. members constantly parrot those same lines, without any real thought or analysis behind the words. Look here and here.

  1. A.A. does not even have 2 million members in the entire world. Even the A.A. web site shows that the membership is under 2 million, and declining.

  2. Not even half of the A.A. members have much sober time. "It" has not worked for them.

  3. More than half of the A.A. membership is just newcomers (often coerced into A.A. by a judge or parole officer or "treatment counselor"), who will drop out soon. Alcoholics Anonymous does not have a retention rate, it has a churn rate. Just hundreds of newcomers in, and then hundreds of newcomers gone. Those people are not "millions for whom it has worked". We discussed this at length before, here.

  4. In properly-controlled medical tests, A.A. has been proven to be very harmful — worse than no treatment or help.

    1. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. indoctrination greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics. People who were sent to A.A. ended up, after 9 months of A.A., doing FIVE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got no such help, and NINE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Behavior Therapy.

    2. Dr. Keith Ditman found that A.A. involvement increased the rate of re-arrests for drunkenness.

    3. Dr. Diana Walsh found that "free" A.A. just messed up a lot of alcoholics and made them require more expensive hospitalization later.

    4. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that just having a doctor talk to alcoholics and their wives for just one hour, one time ever, telling them to quit drinking or they were going to die, was just as effective as an entire year of 12-Step-based treatment that included all of the facilities of the hospital.

    5. This one is the most damning evidence of all, because it came from a doctor who loves Alcoholics Anonymous, and is one of its biggest promoters. He is (or was) also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. Doctor George E. Vaillant (who later became a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University), clearly demonstrated that A.A. treatment kills patients. For eight years, while he tried to prove that A.A. works, his A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission, and worse, it had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied. Dr. Vaillant candidly called the A.A. death rate "appalling". At the end of 8 years, the score with his first 100 A.A.-treated patients was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking.

      But 5% per year is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics — what Dr. Vaillant called "the natural history of alcoholism". That's how many alcoholics recover on their own, without any "treatment" or "support group". A.A. cannot claim the credit for those recoveries, no matter whether they attend some A.A. meetings or not, and Dr. Vaillant clearly said that. So 5 minus 5 equals zero, the real A.A. recovery rate.

    6. And then, even though these items have not been surveyed and documented by doctors, there is plenty of evidence that the A.A. suicide rate and the A.A. divorce rate are big problems too.

    Obviously, we need recovery organizations and methods that do not kill so many patients.

Have a good day now.

== 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.

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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-letters257.html