Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXIII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Grove_W ]

Date: Mon, November 7, 2011 11:05 am     (answered 8 November 2011)
From: "grove w."
Subject: thanks

I want to thank you for the 'Orange Papers'. AA at it's best is an ecumenical religious organization which promotes abstinence for it's members — nothing more. Everyone needs to be careful not to get dogmatic, exaggerate or become rigid about the claims they make for it. I don't believe for a minute AA is the only legitimate, or even the best path, to sobriety.

While I continue to be a member and I recognize that there are many, many well meaning members there are also a frightening number of deranged sociopaths and assorted delusional's. They are, of course, attracted to organizations which claim to offer help to the weak and vulnerable. I also know there are, for the same reasons, equally deranged sociopaths active in the 'treatment industry' as well.

I don't have an answer to either problem but do feel the warning you are providing is invaluable. Keep it up.

Hello Grove,

Thanks for the thanks, and the compliments.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When I reflect upon the number of disagreeable people
**     who I know have gone to a better world, I am moved to
**     live a different life.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#James_G ]

Date: Tue, November 8, 2011 10:02 am     (answered 9 November 2011)
From: "James G"
Subject: Requesting a favour...


This is a new film I have made —


It is one of the more important ones for me. I am going after the treatment industry. I told this rehab a week ago that if they did not reply to my email I would make this film publicly. No reply. They must assume we are powerless.

It would mean a lot to me if you could link it, as well as the article I wrote a while ago below.

I am super busy at the moment but I promise to get active on the OP Forum as soon as I have a moment.

Thank you so much for all your recent replies.


PS If you want to learn a little more about Broadway Lodge check out this page:


Hi again, Jimmy,

Sure, I'm happy to plug your videos. I'll see it real soon now. (I have that recurring problem of not being able to see videos, again. I installed a bunch of updates, and one of them updated the browser, and now the plugins for videos no longer work. I have to download videos to my hard disk and view them with a different media player. Don't you love it when updates break more things than they fix?)

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We live in a totally magical universe where the stars explode
**     into stardust, and then the stardust becomes mud on a planet,
**     and then the mud gets up and sings and dances.

[The previous letter from Albert_L is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Albert_L ]

Date: Mon, November 7, 2011 10:54 pm     (answered 9 November 2011)
From: "al l."
Subject: your reply

Dear Terrance Hodgins,

First of thank you for your reply and the extent you went to answer my questions. It shows that you've had to defend your views a few times. I am curious as to how you feel about NA, because while I may not belong to AA, I do belong to NA. I myself can not stand AA, especially the old timers. But for me NA has been a great savior of my life. Before NA I was headed for death. Now I sense that you seem to think of 12 steppers as sheep, that is probably just the ones you've encountered. I admit to the usage of God in our literature but I've also attended meetings of atheists and agnostics in NA, where there was no reading of the literature due to the word God in the literature. But they also know that they have faced a power greater than themselves, Drugs and Alcohol is a negative power greater than themselves.

I know you think of us as a clone of AA, but we're not, all we are are a group of people who meet together to help each other with our drug problems. I understand that there are some people out there with stronger wills than myself. I LOVE DRUGS, but like I said it was killing me. The reason for writing that e-mail that way was just a reaction of wow, this guy Hates AA, I want to know why??? Because I hate it too...

I am curious about the other recovery groups you are a proponent of and what their success rates are. Because I know some people will not stay in NA, and my goal is to make sure that they have an alternative to going back and using drugs, because for those addicted to Heroin, Oxi's, Meth, or Crack Cocaine our bottoms are a casket. Our next hit might be our last hit. And as a recovering addict I do not wish Death on anyone, especially those that NA can not help.

Looking forward to your reply Terrance and may you stay clean another day,


Hello Albert,

Thanks for some reasonable questions.

  1. First off, I feel the same about Narcotics Anonymous as about Alcoholics Anonymous. The differences between the two are hardly worth mentioning. About the only differences that I saw were:

    1. N.A. people think that N.A. is cooler and hipper than A.A., especially because A.A. is so stodgy that you can only talk about alcohol there, while you can talk about drugs and alcohol at N.A.

    2. N.A. does not worship Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob the way that A.A. does.

    3. A.A. gives out coins for sober time, and N.A. gives out keytags. (By the way, I've still got mine, including the glow-in-the-dark 1-Year tag.)

    Unfortunately, they both push an old pro-Nazi cult religion as the cure for drug and alcohol problems, which is sheer insanity.

  2. You said,
    "Before NA I was headed for death."

    Actually, what you mean is, "Before I quit drugging, I was headed for death."

    Yes, I had the same experience too. My doctor even said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." I thought it over for a month, and then decided to live.

    The thing that really matters is the decision to quit our addictions and improve our lifestyle. That's the big one. That's everything. That's the whole ball game.

    After that, it doesn't matter if you go to N.A. meetings, or go to church, or go to baseball games, or go play tiddly-winks.

    Assuming that Narcotics Anonymous is responsible for your clean and sober living is the logical fallacy called confusing causation with correlation. Just because two things happen at the same time does not mean that one thing caused the other. Like the rooster's crowing does not make the sun rise, even though, every morning, the two of them do their dance together.

    Lots of people decide not to die from drugs and alcohol, so they quit their bad habits, and also go to some A.A. or N.A. meetings to see if that can help. Then some true believers work at convincing them that the reason they quit their bad habits is because they are participating in a cult religion. Not so.

  3. I try hard to not stereotype A.A. and N.A. members. Remember that many of them were my friends and acquaintances. I only found about 10% of the members to be dogmatic, unrealistic, nutcases.

  4. No, drugs and alcohol are not a "negative power greater than ourselves." In fact, the only power any drug has is the power to change your body chemistry a little bit and give you a pleasant buzz. It is you who desires the pleasant rush, and you who obtains the drug, and you who consumes it. Left to themselves, drugs don't even have the power to get up off of the table and walk down the street.

    It's all us, and not the drug. We should not anthropomorphize drugs or alcohol. Like my child-molesting coke-snorting counselor liked to say, "Your addiction wants to kill you." Wrong. There is no such monster as "My Addiction", and it does not want to kill me. There is only us and our desires.

  5. About the "meetings of atheists and agnostics in NA": I really don't care whether people believe in God — I mean, I really don't care — not unless they start chanting "Gott Sei Mit Uns!" and praising Adolf Hitler...

    x.A. having a few token atheists does not prove that x.A. is not a cult religion, not any more than a corporation having a few token Negroes proves that it isn't racially biased.

  6. RE:
    I LOVE DRUGS, but like I said it was killing me.

    Yes, exactly. You understand. That is the most honest and realistic thing that you have said. And that is the whole problem. Our desires. Not a "negative power greater than ourselves". Just our desires to feel good, to feel great, to trip on Cloud 9, to become totally ecstatic and Righteously Ripped and feel absolutely grand.

    Actually, to be nit-picking now, what we really love is the high. As soon as a drug stops getting us high, we dump it and try a different one. We love the high, not the drug. The drug is just a means to an end.

    Have you seen the web page on The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster? I talk about those desires there.

    And you understand that using drugs leads to negative consequences. That's just the way that it is. Everything has its cost. There is a good side and a bad side to using any drug or intoxicant. Heck, there is even a good side and a bad side to eating chocolate cake. Ask any morbidly obese person.

  7. About the success rates of other recovery groups and methods, the statistics are lacking. There has been very little proper testing of any methods of recovery, even A.A. Now that seems nuts, considering that we spend $20 billion per year on "recovery", and it is nuts to be spending so much on unproven methods. The treatments and methods that are most used have never been shown to actually work.

    The only proper study that I know of that compared A.A. and SMART found that the people who got A.A. were doing five times as much binge drinking as an untreated group of alcoholics, and nine times as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is like SMART.

    There has been some testing, and A.A. and N.A. failed every properly-conducted test. (Look here.) The one test that I recall that specifically included N.A. was a test of sponsorship. The results were that newcomers to N.A. getting sponsors did not help them at all.

    So how on Earth can I push those other methods and organizations when they have not been clinically proven to work? Because they don't teach cult religion nonsense and use brainwashing techniques and drive people to suicide or relapse. We should at least not use methods that are very harmful, like a cult of confession. Brainwashing techniques and cults of confession have been tested, and their results were disastrous. Remember the source of the expression, "drink the koolaid"?

I hope that you stay clean and sober too. Not just "for another day", but for life.
(That's another problem with the 12-Step doctrines: "One day at a time" is a terrible way to live. That's what got us into trouble in the first place. "Well, I survived getting high today. So far, so good.")

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*     The Great Binge (1870-1914) is a period in history given by social
*     historians, due to Absinthe in Europe and other dangerous drugs
*     such as heroin being commercially available. Heroin is a brand name.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Albert_L2 ]

[This letter crossed in the mail with my reply to the previous one.]

Date: Tue, November 8, 2011 9:21 pm     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "Albert L."
Subject: Re: Who are you

Ok, as I've studied your site further, I've come to see that you're the Fox News of recovery. You take and twist things the same way they do. It is obvious that while you have attended a few meetings you've never worked any of the steps. So basically what you've done is taken a stance against something that you've never. Even attempted and try to convince others the evil of. And as I read the letters of those who support you, I can't help but think of the way Fox News viewers talk about liberals. Wow. Oh by the way When you quoted Yoda: " do or do not, there is no try." Maybe you should have gone with Obi-Wan's : " only a Sith lord believes in absolutes."

Good luck with your snake oil sales, maybe Fox News Viewers will buy it.

Hello again, Albert,

No, I do not twist things". I work very hard at making sure that every fact is correct, and even documented and backed up by good evidence. It is A.A. that twists things by using propaganda tricks like lying with qualifiers by claiming that they have a great success rate with people who "really try" and "thoroughly follow our path".

You are correct when you guess that I have not done the 12 Steps. But I don't need to, not any more than I need to drink some of Rev. Jim Jones' koolaid to see how well that works, and how "spiritual" that will make me. We can watch and see what such things do to other people.

The inferior man does not learn from his own mistakes.
The average man does learn from his own mistakes.
The superior man learns from other people's mistakes.

== Old Zen saying

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
**     has cured millions. RARELY have we seen it fail...
**     But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
**     Take what you want, and leave the rest."

[The previous letter from Al_C is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Al_C ]

Date: Tue, November 8, 2011 7:10 pm     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: al c
Subject: Re: Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult

Thanks for your reply. I honestly believe that your analysis of AA, as well researched as it was, that the conclusions that you've drawn, are seriously flawed. However, that is just my opinion. In my previous letter, I asked you "what were the major factors that motivated you to do such an in depth analysis?" of AA. You have not directly answered that question.

Hello again, Al,

Yes I did. How many times do I have to say that I was sick unto death, and my doctor said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."? I knew that I was dying. I got a good look into my grave, and decided to live.

Although you claim that you are neither agnostic nor atheist, I don't see you as a believer in a Higher Power. Although your recovery might have been through self reliance, that would not work for many.

I don't believe in Santa Claus. I don't expect a vague "Higher Power" ghost or spirit to grant my wishes (if I grovel and pray and confess enough). People like the Jews in Auschwitz did a very good job of thoroughly disproving that one long ago. But then again, I also don't believe in the Nasty Nazi In The Sky who will kill you if you don't believe enough nonsense. There is a lot more to spirituality than just begging a spirit to give you things, or "believing" because Somebody Upstairs will zap you with a thunderbolt if you don't.

I came to believe. From today's Daily Reflections:


My spiritual growth is with God as I understand Him. With Him I find my true inner self. Daily meditation and prayer strengthen and renew my source of well-being. I receive then the openness to accept all that He has to offer. With God I have the reassurance that my journey will be as He wants for me, and for that I am grateful to have God in my life.

What is the difference between "spiritual growth" and growth of gullibility and superstition?

Who says that God doesn't want you to be an alcoholic? After all, "He" made you a born alcoholic, didn't "He"?

Alcoholics Anonymous and the "Big Book" put God back into my life, and saved my life and countless others who have gone before. Your solution, or a lack thereof would have killed me.


If you really "got God back in your life", then you must have gained a new respect for the truth. Like Jesus said, "Learn the truth, and the truth will set you free."

So how can you participate in a cult religion that lies all of the time? How can you sit still while lists of Bill Wilson's lies are read out loud at the start of every A.A. meeting? (Big Book pages 58 through 60.) That isn't very spiritual.

A.A. has not "saved countless others who have gone before". That is just standard A.A. propaganda. Bill Wilson started telling those grandiose lies before the Big Book was even written. (Which means that Bill Wilson was really claiming credit for the sobriety of people who were Oxford Group members.) Look here.

Lastly, you claim that you would have died if you had done things my way? Getting honest and realistic and deciding not to die from addictions would have killed you? Really? How does that work?

To see my way, look here: How did you get to where you are?

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Time's glory is to calm contending kings,
**     To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
**       ==  William Shakespeare  (1564—1616), The Rape of Lucrece, Line 939

[The next letter from Al_C is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#James_C ]

Date: Thu, November 10, 2011 5:54 pm     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "James C."

Dear OP. I have gone to your site more then once and LOVE it!! I was wondering if you have ever considered making a version that can be put on a disk so we can cary it with us, save it to our computers, etc. I know things are added on a reoutine bases but whats up is great! I think the new information you added on the chips helps to prove the point about how few get help in aa.

Hello James,

Thanks for the compliments. And your wish was granted long ago. The whole web site was designed so it can be run off of a CD. The entire web site is contained in a set of archives files — admittedly, a bunch of them now — how things grow. You just download the 59 archive files, and put them into an empty subdirectory on your hard disk ("Folder" in Windoweze), and then unzip them all, and then burn the contents of the whole subdirectory to a CD. It all fits on one CD, including the archive files that you downloaded. The archive files are here:


and another copy of the instructions is here:


After burning the CD, you can start browsing by viewing the file "menu1.html" or "index.html". (They are the same thing.)

Notice that the archive files are designed so that you don't have to download everything every time that you want to update your copy of the web site. Most often, only the "alpha" file changes — that is the text of the web pages, and any new images are added at the end of the list of image files, so that you usually only need to download the last "img" file, or maybe two at most. That really cuts down on the labor of updating your local copy.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
**     and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
**     Happiness never decreases by being shared.
**        ==   Buddha

Flashback two years: Now it's May 23, 2009, Saturday, back to Carmen's time:

Geese begging at boats
Geese begging at boats.
Cruising the fleet and seeing what they can get from boaters is a regular goose activity. And having a bunch of cute babies to show off is a definite advantage. Many people just can't resist feeding the beautiful little fluff-ball goslings.

Geese begging at boats
Geese begging at boats

Geese begging at boats
The Family of 9 trying to shake down a boat

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Scott_McD ]

Date: Fri, November 11, 2011 11:59 am     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "Scott McD."
Subject: interested


I have been reading the information regarding AA on your web site. It is very compelling and I am interested in reading more. My own experience has shown me that this program of "recovery" is not effective long term and a lot of what you have written is very similar to what I have seen. I would like to know more about the writer of this information, nothing really personal, but just some information that will help me with credibility and motivation for writing the material. Thanks.


Hello Scott,

I'm glad to hear that you have your eyes open. I've been asked "who are you" many times, so I already wrote it all down. This answer points to the whole list of autobiographical answers:
How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     However many holy words you read, however many you speak,
**     what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
**       ==  Buddha

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#James_B ]

Date: Fri, November 11, 2011 6:16 pm     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "James B."
Subject: AA is deadly

Woman shot at Alcoholics Anonymous meeting


November 11, 2011 | 11:20 am

A woman was in stable condition Friday after being shot in the head by a man fighting with her husband at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Baldwin Park, police said.

The woman, whose name was not released, was sitting in a car outside First Presbyterian Church of Baldwin Park on Stewart Avenue about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a police report.

A fistfight erupted between her husband and another man at the meeting, which rents space from the church but is not connected to it, church officials said. The fight then spilled out into the parking lot.

One of the men pulled a handgun and fired at the other. The bullet missed the intended victim and hit the woman, according to the report. Her car careened across busy Los Angeles Street and hit a fence, according to the report. It was unclear how her car went into drive as she was sitting in it, and police did not say if she was in the driver's seat or the passenger's side of the car. The shooter ran off, and there was no detailed description of him.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune quotes police as saying the woman's husband was the intended victim. Police did not know the reason for the fight inside the meeting.

Hi James,

Thanks for the tip. That sure is one safe, spiritual, place to recover, isn't it?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "WHEN a pretension to free the world from evil ends only
**     in a new proof of the danger of a fanatic to the commonweal,
**     then it is not to be marveled at that a distrust is aroused
**     in the observer which makes sympathy impossible."
**          ==  Sigmund Freud

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#John_M ]

Date: Tue, November 8, 2011 6:58 am     (answered 9 November 2011)
From: "John M."
Subject: Pastor's corporal punishment advice scrutinized


BTW, check out this quote:

And Michael Pearl rejects the notion that his teachings bear any responsibility for the childrens' deaths. "If you find a 12-step book in an alcoholic's house, you wouldn't blame the book," he told the Times.


Hi again, John,

Thanks for the tip. That article really is disgusting and appalling. What a couple of sickos those Pearls are.

That quote really is priceless. I never cease to be amazed and appalled at the ability of the human race to rationalize and make excuses and evade the obvious truth, and deny any responsibility for the results of bad behavior.

Bill Wilson liked to rave about how bad alcoholics are:

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions.
The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill, William G. Wilson, page 267, and
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 236.

But the truth is, it isn't just alcoholics. Lots of people are guilty of that. Alcoholics have no monopoly on sin or stupidity.

This line is also both ignorant and obtuse:

The Pearls, along with many conservative Christians, say the Bible calls for corporal punishment. "To give up the use of the rod is to give up our views of human nature, God, eternity," they write in the book.

Well, actually, the same section of the Bible also advocates robbing and murdering your non-Jewish neighbors and raping their virgin daughters:

"Moses became angry with the army commanders and said, "I can't believe you let the women live! They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor.   ...   You must put to death every boy and all of the women who have ever had sex. But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.   ...
Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions, and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included   ...   32,000 young women who had never had sex.
Numbers 31:14-35
This book of Moses says that Moses' army kept 32,000 young virgins for their sex toys, so they must have slaughtered a couple of hundred thousand other people — the older women, younger girls, men, boys, and infants. If Moses were alive today, he would be taken to the Hague and put on trial for war crimes, right beside Slobodan Milosevik. "Genocide" is the only name for such racist immoral conduct. But hey! Moses' scribblings in the Bible say that it is not only okay, but is the holy way to live.

"You may hear that some worthless people there have talked everyone there into worshipping other gods... ... you must take your swords and kill every one of them..."
Deuteronomy 13:13-15

"The LORD our God helped us destroy Og and his army and conquer his entire kingdom of Bashan, including the Argob region. His kingdom had lots of villages and sixty towns... We completely destroyed them all, killing everyone, but keeping the livestock and everything else of value."
Deuteronomy 3:3-7

"We met Sihon and his army in battle at Jahaz, and the LORD our God helped us defeat them. We killed Sihon, his sons, and everyone else in his army. Then we captured and destroyed every town in Sihon's kingdom, killing everyone, but keeping the livestock and everything else of value."
Deuteronomy 2:32-35

"Whenever you capture towns in the land the LORD your God is giving you, be sure to kill all the people and animals. ... If you allow them to live, they will persuade you to worship their disgusting gods, and you will be unfaithful to the LORD."
Deuteronomy 20:16-18

(Oh really? The livestock will make Jews be unfaithful to the Lord??? How does that work?)

"The LORD your God will help you capture the land, and He will give you peace. But when that day comes, you must wipe out Amalek so completely that no one remembers they ever lived."
Deuteronomy 25:19

That is a good description of genocide. Same thing as Hitler tried to do to the Jews later on.

Personally, I don't use that part of the Bible as a guide for anything.

By the way, the Pearls who advocate beating children according to Biblical instructions are not Jewish, are they? They promote Christianity. They worship "other gods" like Jesus Christ, whom Moses would have called a false prophet. So those Christians must be put to death with the sharp edge of the sword, too, and their entire town burned to the ground. The Bible says so.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very
**    short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.'
**    And God granted it."
**       ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Thu, November 10, 2011 10:19 am     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: Another Look at the Robert Pickton Case: Enabling and Tough Love Revisited


Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

Hi again, Peter,

Thanks for the link.

One paragraph really stands out for me:

My view on such matters hasn't changed much over the years: if allowing someone (child, partner, friend) in your life, and spending your resources on that person, is destroying your life, then maybe you should cut someone off — whether that's a complete cut-off, or only partial, would be your decision. Best, though, not to presume about what effect you will have on the person in question.

Consider that the cutting off works both ways. I was the victim of "tough love" at the hands of an alcoholic military sergeant father who forced me into the military during the Vietnam War after I started taking LSD and smoking marijuana. I have not talked to my mother in 25 years, or my father in 30 years. I believe that he is dead — that he went back to Mexico and drank himself to death while living like a king on his military retirement checks.

If parents want that kind of a relationship with their children, go ahead with the "tough love" routine.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Tough Love: Abuse of a type particularly gratifying to the abuser,
**     in that it combines the pleasures of sadism with those of self-righteousness.
**     Commonly employed and widely admired in 12-step groups and treatment."
**        —  Charles Bufe

May 23, 2009, Saturday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Cackling Canada Goose
Cackling Goose. This little guy (or girl) is from Alaska.

Canada Goose goslings
The "Family of 5" Canada Goose goslings.
The father is in the lead. This family has three boys and two girls. You can easily see the great difference in size between the boys and the girls.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Susan ]

Date: Sun, November 13, 2011     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: Susan
Subject: Re: Your Work


I am a graduate student studying anthropology and 20th century religious movements, and I came across your findings on the internet. I am interested in citing some of your work in my paper, but would it be possible to have some of your education/background details or other published work that I can corroborate? I need to substantiate anything I write about in an extensive bibliography, and unfortunately I cannot use anonymous findings collected from the internet.

Many Thanks,


Hello Susan,

Thanks for the letter and the question. I wish you luck in your work.

I am far from anonymous. "Orange" is just a pen name, and not much of a secret identity. My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Forest Grove, Oregon.

You can get all kinds of background information about me here:


Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
**     It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
**       ==  Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#Sarah_S ]

Date: Sun, November 13, 2011 9:24 pm     (answered 15 November 2011)
From: "Sarah S."
Subject: Religion and 12 Step Programs

Dear Orange,

I'm absolutely amazed by your website. It contains such a wealth of information, which I hope the health care and recovery communities will eventually accept.

Hello Sarah,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

As a doctoral candidate in theology and former participant in twelve-step groups, I am particularly interested in what you have to say about twelve step programs and religion. I agree with you completely: this approach to spirituality is heretical from the standpoint of Christianity and also many other major religions. I do not understand why most churches are so willing to allow these groups to meet on their property.

One thing I didn't notice in your writing which I think would be interesting to address is the presence of Calvinistic thought in both Buchman's Oxford Group and Bill Wilson's AA. I bring this up because as a theologian, I see strong overtones of Calvinism in twelve step literature, which should be problematic to both Catholic Christians and Protestants in the Armenian tradition (including Methodists and some Baptists) who participate in AA. I doubt that many non-Calvinist Christians even recognize that practice of the twelve steps necessitates admitting that humanity is depraved and free will is an impediment rather than a gift: totally contrary to doctrine. And as you've already mentioned, all Christians, regardless of denomination, would be opposed to the anything-goes God. I think it's important that people be made aware of this issue, and I would love to write about it myself at some point in my career. If this is a topic you would ever be interested in discussing on your site, I would be glad to share my thoughts and possible sources of information.

Oh yes, I'm aware of the Calvinist elements in their philosophy. I described that in that Heresy file, here:

This effectively makes Alcoholics Anonymous one of the strangest deviant sects of Calvinism around: They believe in predestination with a nasty genetic twist.

And I wouldn't mind discussing it some more.

And the idea that free will and self-reliance are detriments is such an insidious idea, isn't it? By their faulty logic, selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety is a perfectly valid solution to the problem of alcohol addiction. You turn control of your will and your thinking and your life over to a "Higher Power" with scaly skin and cloven hooves, and He tells you what to do and what to think, for the rest of your life, and all of Eternity thereafter.

I agree with you about the "anything-goes god". We have occasionally talked about the rationalization that anything, including robbery and statutory rape, is okay because "We are not saints." Like here.

One other thing I think may be important to clarify. On your "Snake Oil"page (which, by the way, is spot on!) you list Calix as "a Catholic 12-step-based recovery organization." While one could definitely classify it this way, I hope that as a person who is now completely opposed to the twelve steps but still participates in Calix, I can provide a bit of additional information. The vast majority of Calix members belong to a twelve-step fellowship of some kind, but Calix itself does not push the steps like AA and similar organizations do. Calix activities mostly include recovery-themed talks on the Catholic faith, Eucharistic adoration, and Mass. The organization views itself as a spiritual supplement to the steps. I'm not a big fan of the fact that Calix's official position is that twelve step is the best way to recover from addiction, but as a Catholic I am glad that this organization exists to encourage Catholics to integrate the richness of the Church's tradition into the recovery process. In a way, I wonder if an unsaid, unwritten reason for Calix's existence is the obvious fact that the twelve-step God is incompatible with Catholicism. Even after leaving traditional twelve-step groups, I choose to continue my participation in Calix because it provides a specialized form of pastoral care for recovering and recovered individuals. I know lots of other Calix members who feel the same way about the steps and Bill Wilson as I do, and they have no problem participating in Calix. Sometimes, the priest will discuss something from the steps as part of a homily (and when he does, I simply ignore it), but for the most part, no one really cares whether or not a Calix member is actively attending twelve-step meetings. Because of this, I'm not sure I would place Calix in the same category as the other twelve-step groups you list. But not offense intended — this is just a suggestion.

No offense taken. Thanks for the clarification of what Calix is about.

Thank you again for all the effort you have put into this site. I look forward to reading more.


You have a good day too, Sarah.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates.
**     I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus.
**     And I put them in a book.
**     If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?
**         == Dale Carnegie

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#research ]

Date: Sat, November 12, 2011 3:12 pm     (answered 18 November 2011)
From: "Anon"
Subject: RE: I need your help


I would be so grateful to you if you could post a request for addiction treatment (12 step based) horror stories. Please have them respond to you and then just forward them to me. And if you have some great horror stories and e-mail addresses you can get to me now, that would be great.

So in your request for horror stories, just tell them someone is doing real & honest research and needs real stories about how treatment centers treat addiction. (97% of the treatment centers in the US are 12 step based, yet 12 step has never been studied)

The two subject families I would really like to talk to, would have these types of scenarios;

  • 1 — A family that spent all their money (retirement savings or re-mortgaged the house) on addiction treatment for their 'loved one' and the loved one is still using.
  • 2 — A family that spent all their money on treatment centers for their 'loved one' and he or she died anyway.

I think its bad enough that AA says they are the best 'treatment' for addiction, with zero credible data support that claim, but at least it's free. But when a so called, non-profit treatment center (like Betty Ford) charges a $1,000 a day, and all they do is essentially teach AA, I think it's malpractice.



Hello Anon,

Yes, I'll be happy to post some notices to get some stories.

And I think it's malpractice too. And even that is the subject of double-talk. The 12-Step salesmen alternate between saying that A.A. is not treatment (so it can't be medical malpractice, and they don't have to produce success statistics), and then it suddenly is supposedly very good treatment for "alcoholism".

In fact, that is the subject of one of the items in the file of A.A. bait-and-switch tricks:

First, A.A. is good treatment for the "disease of alcoholism", and then it isn't treatment at all.

So, readers, if you have any A.A. horror stories to contribute to the cause, this guy is a journalist who is collecting information and evidence. He wants to remain anonymous while he does his research, so please send the stories to me and I'll forward them.

Thanks, all, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself
**     despises, is a puffer; he who makes use of more means that he
**     knows to be necessary, is a quack; and he who ascribes to those
**     means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants,
**     is an imposter.
**         ==  John Caspar Lavater (1741—1801), Swiss theologian

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters273.html#iamnotastatistic ]

Date: Tue, November 15, 2011 12:54 pm     (answered 19 November 2011)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: More files

Hi Orange,

Here are some more documents for you.

Hi again, iamnotastatistic,

Ah, yes, documents. I love documents.

The first is the meeting minutes from an AA area meeting this year. On page three you can read the following regarding the Treatment Committee report:

TREATMENT: ... The Committee has received a few complaints, from various Treatment Facilities. The panels going in for the Bridging the Gap Program have been giving advice to patients, in contradiction with what their attending physician has recommended. These problems were addressed and the coordinators for the facility were contacted and advised of the situation. The Committee decided to send a letter to all facilities participating in the Bridging the Gap Program stating that if problems arise, to contact the Corrections Committee.

The Bridging the Gap program involves established members starting, coordinating, moderating, etc., AA meetings in treatment facilities. In general these meetings are closed to anyone but Bridging the Gap program members and patients. The oldtimers involved in these meetings have a captive audience and apparently that kind of power goes to their heads. They are going into treatment facilities and telling patients not to take their doctor-prescribed medications. How are these patients supposed to recover when saboteurs like AA are given access to them that is denied to either family members or other community based support groups? Also, I love the corrective action plan: If it happens again — call a different committee to complain.

I wonder if this issue will be discussed at the General Service Conference this year? I wonder if G.S.O. will issue a press release to warn all alcoholics and the general public that this is happening in A.A?

Fat chance.

The second document is from the South East Michigan Community Alliance which coordinates and administers treatment for substances abuse disorders in that area — generally to low or no-income patients. It states that the Code of Federal Regulations, 45CFR, part 96, gives every patient the right to receive alternative, non-faith-based, treatment services. All the patient has to do is object to the religious nature of 12-Step treatment and it cannot be forced upon them. It's very simple — if you know that you have the right to object and have the guts to do it.

This is all possible because the treatment facilities and all the organizations involved in administering the treatment receive federal funding (plus state and local govt. funding). This made me think of another application: Drug Courts! All drug courts receive federal funding. Is it possible that anyone who is sentenced to AA can simply go to their judge or probation officer and use CFR 45, part 96, to object to being sentenced to AA? If an alternative, non faith based, solution is not provided then could that drug court lose its federal funding? Would the local courts be willing to risk their income in order to support AA?

Those are very good questions. I think I'll have to mention that to my newly-elected Congresswoman, Susan Bonamici. (Oops! She hasn't been elected yet. She only won the primary.) Oh heck, that's even better. Politicians' ears work especially well just before elections.

Thanks Orange



Size: 180 k
Type: application/pdf

Size: 100 k
Type: application/pdf

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason.
**      ==  Benjamin Franklin

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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-letters273.html