Letters, We Get Mail, XXVIII

Date: Fri, November 11, 2005
From: "Linda L."
Subject: Twelve Step Snake Oil

*Dear Mr./Ms. A. Orange,*
*I have never read such garbage anywhere and I've heard a lot of reasons why people don't like the "12 Steps". It's obvious you have never been involved in a 12 step program of any kind. Otherwise you wouldn't make these blatantly angry statements about them. I happen to know that these steps have saved hundreds, thousands of lives because they are what people need. I'm one of those Adult Children of an Alcoholic whose life was saved by the ACoA 12 steps. I attended meetings for 16 years; not a lifetime as you suggest. That's only for those people in AA who don't go beyond the 12 steps and really look at themselves and their lives. *

Hi Linda,

Thanks for the letter.

16 years of 12-Step meetings, and you are still that angry? What happened to "Serene and Grateful"?

You claim that ACOA has saved thousands of lives? Where is the evidence for that? I mean real evidence, not just hearsay or proof by anecdote.

Please, this is an important point. In fact, it is the whole ball game. The 12-Step organizations routinely make grand sweeping declarations of great success, a zillion lives saved... But when we carefully examine those claims, they always fall apart, and degenerate into, "Well, I *really* like the meetings. They make me feel special."

*My advice to anyone is don't knock it until you've tried it.

That is terrible advice.
"Don't knock Jim Jones's cyanide koolaid until you've tried it. Heck, it might be good for you and make you spiritual. You never know..."

That advice is quintessential alcoholism. Want to introduce an innocent young person to drugs and alcohol? Just say, "Heck, don't knock it before you've tried it."

One of the nice things about being an intelligent human being is that we can learn from other people's mistakes. We don't have to try everything and make all of the mistakes ourselves.

We can see what happened to the Moonies and the Scientologists and the Hari Krishnas and the Heaven's Gate cult and the Branch Davidians and Jim Jones's Peoples' Temple, and then say, "Hmmm. I don't think I want to go there."

We don't *have to* try it before we knock it.

Likewise, I can also look at what happened to the Steppers and then say, "No way am I going to waste 16 years of my life in that rubber room."

I know some therapist who say it's just another addiction. I also know these therapist don't like the competition and are afraid they'll lose their clients. Which of course is not true. Most people in 12 Step programs recognize that they need both. Each has immense benefits in helping those of us who recognize that our lives can be better. Denial is a natural human way of protecting ourselves. I wonder what your denial is protecting you from.*

About, "Denial is a natural human way of protecting ourselves." You should look at yourself. Don't you notice how non-linear you go when someone says that Steppism is a cult? (One to which you gave 16 years of your life...)

Don't you notice how you have to rationalize that the counselors are criticizing your addiction to the 12-Step cult only because "these therapists don't like the competition and are afraid they'll lose their clients"? Talk about somebody being in denial.

And the Steppers have no monopoly on "recognizing that our lives can be better."

What I criticize in the Snake Oil web page is how people's lives do not get better as a result of practicing Steppism.

You said that "Each has immense benefits in helping those of us who recognize that our lives can be better."
Where do you get any evidence that years of practicing the 12 Steps gives people "benefits"? What the Snake Oil web page is about is how the 12-Step quack medicine does just the opposite: it hurts people, rather than giving them benefits.

How can you even think that making Children of Alcoholics list and confess all of their sins (Steps 4 and 5) is going to somehow fix the lingering injuries from child abuse? What a bizarre, twisted, guilt-inducing cult religion. What are those unfortunate children supposed to confess? Their poor choice of parents?

That guilt-induction routine is enough to drive some people to suicide.
How many suicides have you had in your groups, in your 16 years of membership in the 12-Step cult?

So, really, just what benefits are you talking about?
And please don't give me vague grand generalities like, "telling us that our lives can be better..."

You've had 16 years of Steppism, and you are apparently still in counseling, and you haven't recovered, so precisely how did the 12-Step dance improve your life over the last 16 years?

*I do hope the author A. Orange reads this as it is written for him.*

*Linda L.*

Linda, your wish is granted. This is the real Agent Orange talking to you.

I hope you recover some day.
Get out of the Roomz. Get a life.
In the mean time, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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: Sun, November 13, 2005
Subject: Thank you

Dear AO,

You are absolutely right — I am in the fight for my life. I am a mom of two, married for 30 years and decided to stop my abuse of prescription opiates. A catastrophic event did not lead me to this decision — no death, no loss of job, no family member threatening me. I had simply had enough.

Finding help was the problem. Hindsight tells me I really should have consulted my physician — he provided none of my prescriptions. However, for over one year I searched online, specifically for a doctor that treated with Suboxone. After screwing up the courage, I called some of the doctors in my area on the SAMSI list. Either there was a long waiting list or the doctors were not authorized as the government website suggests. One doctor in another county (see, the private numbers of doctors were listed) told me I was SOL and to consider admitting myself to a rehab unit. To shorten this story — after one year of looking for a doctor to help me, I found one, and one that was authorized to treat with Sub, and one not on *the* list.

As you are probably aware Suboxone takes away the craving — a true miracle drug. I realize I could be on it for life — the doctor put me in control of the timeline to taper, if ever. He rightfully insisted (required by Federal guidelines) that I seek a therapy, which I did. I found a licensed substance abuse counselor that insists I participate in AA (or NA) — and that has been my sole source of anxiety since I quit using one week ago. One point I identified in your "papers" — I am in the fight for my life and I must be very careful who I entrust to treat me and my mental health.

I consider myself fairly astute and have had zero exposure to AA. *Something* (that little cartoon character on my shoulder, perhaps) told me to look into AA. I went to their "cafe" website. The very first statement that rubbed me the wrong way was that I had to accept I am powerless. Bullshit! As I read on about AA, there is more and more that that builds conflict within myself about the attendance of such meetings. Again, I am in my very early stages of recovery, and the only anxiety I am feeling is the result of being coerced into AA.

I also see something else that is very dangerous here. My therapist (I can see after one meeting I am going to have to change) is an alcoholic that has been in recovery for 20 years. (You know where this is going). She did say I could join any other support group, it didn't have to be AA. As a licensed SAC, there is no doubt in my mind she knows there are no SMART, SOS, WFS or LifeRing in our area. She even used the AA jargon in my first session, "walk the walk" or "take what you can use." So, AA's tentacles have reached into our professional medical community to guide those when they at their weakest. This is so very lazy of our medical community.

Hi Sylvia,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are getting it together. Sounds good.

You can get LifeRing on the Internet. They have online meetings --
http://www.unhooked.com/chat/Chat.html — the Unhooked chat,
and also
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/LSRmail/ — a Yahoo group, "LifeRing Secular Recovery"

There are also now online chat groups at WFS — Women For Sobriety:

I did read with interest your listed benefits of AA. The benefits listed are not anything that cannot be found anywhere else. I will choose to seek those benefits without the strings.


I have joined the online group at SMART and may even look into WFS and LifeRing. These support groups deal focus on cravings, something I am fortunate enough not to experience — at least not yet. I will take from these groups the opportunity to learn more about myself, to grow stronger. Your work has given me the courage not to yield to demands of others. For that, I say thank you.

Online SMART sounds good. And thanks for the compliment.

sylvia s.

The one thing I would add is, "Especially read about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster, if you haven't already." You have already quit. Now you need to defeat that little monster who keeps telling you that it's okay to just have a few now... Understanding how he works and what he does has been a huge help for me. Quitting is one thing; surviving the mind games that come after the withdrawal is something else.

Take care of yourself, and don't hesitate to write back, and I'll try to respond even sooner.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Mon, November 14, 2005 5:44 pm
From: "Diane P."
Subject: Thank You

I just found your site and what a relief! I walked away from NA and AA years ago and have been sober since 1991. When I walked away I thought I would face the horrors promised me by AA/NA members. For over 20 years I bounced in and out of the program being told if I did not do things their way I would get drunk or high, I damn sure did! Once I walked away I was scared and thought I would be attacked by drugs and alcohol, but I eventually became more comfortable with myself and my own thoughts, not those that were being drummed into my head.

I am completing my bachelor of science in Community and Human Services with a concentration in counseling. I worked with a woman who was a big shot with the alcohol council for NYS and one question she asked me was what I would find difficult when counseling people. I told her I would find it hard to send every substance abuser to 12 step groups because that is just the way it is. She agreed somewhat, but I know substance abuse counseling as a career is not for me, I would never ever demand anyone attend something that is not right for them.

I look forward to reading your whole site. From what I have read so far I think you deserve some kind of award!

Diane P.

Hi Diane,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and congratulations on your years of success.

I am troubled by the idea that you should not be a substance abuse counselor because you don't want to send people to 12-Step groups. We need more people like you in the "recovery industry", not less. Right now, there are so many fools that know nothing except "Go to meetings, get a sponsor, and work the Steps".

Did you read the introduction, where I learned that my Stepper counselor was snorting cocaine and screwing his step-children while he taught us how to be "spiritual"? That's your competition. You can hardly do worse. Now go out there and beat the pants off of the competition! (Sorry for the pun.)

And have a good day.


*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Wed, November 16, 2005
Subject: Thanks

Your website is superb and has been a great help to me in debunking the utter nonsense I spent two years believing in.

Thanks for the hard work.
John C.

Hi John,

Thanks for the thanks, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

Date: Wed, November 16, 2005
From: "Rob B."
Subject: hello

I've been reading your website. I was in CODA for 14 months and it was one of the worst experiences in my life. I reject 12 step theology and I totally reject the theory that any behavior (including alcoholism) is a disease.

I am a practicing catholic, and I've voted Republican for the last 15 years.

A majority of what you have written I agree with. Some of the political jabs I don't.

I will ask you to do something if you can. Find a consevative, traditional christian or catholic website find out who to contact and send them an email with one simple question:

"Do you believe that alcoholism and other addictive behaviors are a disease?"

The answers I believe will most undoubtedly be NO!

(There are liberal christian and catholics who believe it is but, I don't believe they are in any way the majority.)

I also sent an email to the AMA asking this:

Subject: alcoholism ["Council on Scientific Affairs"] (Contact Us)

The AMA endorses the proposition that drug dependencies such alcoholism are diseases. I would like to know if you have any medical scientific evidence that supports this. If so, can you either provide me with or tell me where I can obtain it? (web, books etc.)


Behaviors such as codependency, overeating, and being a sociopath are being referred to as diseases. Does the AMA support those propositions? If so can you provide me with or refer me to any medical scientific evidence thats supports that?

thank you

this is their answer:

Dear Mr. B.:

Your request to our Council on Science and Public Health was forwarded to me. There are many resources you can look at. A good earlier look at this issue can be found in RM Morse, DK Flavin. The Definition of Alcoholism. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 26, 1992 — vol. 268, No. 8. An abstract is available on our website: www.ama-assn.org although the full article might be found elsewhere on the web.

The standard description and criteria for diagnosis as a disease (similarly for other drug dependencies) can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition — "DSM-IV" published by the American Psychiatric Association. They have also published a several volume DSM Sourcebook which goes into the research support for the content of the DSM. A brief synopsis of this information is provided in "Alcohol Alert 30: Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Abuse and Dependence" from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications. There are about 60 Alerts now available many of which go into further details. The website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse www.nida.nih.gov has similar information on drug dependence. Finally, the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine also has a useful book: Dispelling the Myths About Addiction published by the National Academy Press, 1997. This is available free on-line at www.nap.edu

We do not have policy indicating the other health problems you list as diseases. We do have a policy regarding depression:

H-345.984 Awareness, Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression

(1) The AMA will disseminate information to physicians and the public that depression is a significant illness that should be treated and when it occurs with another medical illness is a separate condition requiring treatment. The AMA supports full reimbursement and payment, without prejudice, for physician services related to the diagnosis and treatment of clinical depression.

(2) Our AMA encourages: (a) medical schools, primary care residencies, and other training programs as appropriate to include the appropriate knowledge and skills to enable graduates to recognize, diagnose, and treat depression, both when it occurs by itself and when it occurs with another general medical condition; (b) all physicians providing clinical care to acquire the same knowledge and skills; and (c) additional research into the course and outcomes of patients with depression who are seen in general medical settings and into the development of clinical and systems approaches designed to improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, any approaches designed to manage care by reduction in the demand for services should be based on scientifically sound outcomes research findings.

(3) Our AMA will work with the National Institute on Mental Health and appropriate medical specialty and mental health advocacy groups to increase public awareness about depression, to reduce the stigma associated with depression, and to increase patient access to quality care for depression. (Res. 502, I-96; Reaffirm & Appended: CSA Rep. 7, I-97; Reaffirmation A-00)

I hope this information will be helpful to you.
Richard Yoast, Director
Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
American Medical Association

I thought you might find this useful. I'm gonna try to look into it.

Your thoughts


Wow Rob,

Thanks for a neat letter. It never occurred to me to write to the AMA and bug them for an explanation of their "disease theory of alcoholism".

Their treatment of you was disingenuous, to put it mildly, if not downright dishonest. Another word that comes to mind is "evasive". Your correspondent basically just tried bury you in irrelevant garbage and give you the run-around, and then to shoo you away and send you over to the American Psychiatric Association, rather than to honestly answer your question.

I am still wading through the papers that Mr. Yoast referred to on the AMA and NIAAA web sites. He sure didn't supply a simple, clear easy-to-find definition of "alcoholism, the disease".

Mr. Yoast seemed to be quite happy to change the subject and go on and on about depression, which you did not ask about, but he never defined "alcoholism". (That is the propaganda and debating trick of "Divert Attention Away From the Point" It's also the politician's technique of "Answer a question that was not asked, to avoid answering the embarassing question that was asked.")

Nor did Mr. Yoast answer your questions about those other "12-Step diseases", other than to say that "they had no policy".

Why didn't he cut and paste a simple concise definition of alcoholism while he was cutting and pasting all of that irrelevant stuff about depression?

One very interesting fact that I did stumble across on the A.M.A. web site was this statement in the history of the AMA:

1956: AMA declares alcoholism an illness

Oh, an "illness", huh? Not a "disease", like the Steppers have been telling us? Those words are not the same thing.

I agree that alcoholics who are killing themselves with alcohol have an illness — probably several illnesses, starting with alcohol poisoning. You can't have that much alcohol in your blood stream without being sick.

Then most of the hard-core, dying, alcoholics also have things like cirrhosis of the liver, kidney damage, peripheral nerve damage, brain damage, and a lot of other medical problems....

And then the American Psychiatric Association will say that they also have mental illness number 305.00 "Alcohol Abuse", and maybe also 303.90 "Alcohol Dependence".

But that does not mean that they have a "disease" called "alcoholism" that makes them drink alcohol and renders them "powerless over alcohol".

It's just like how children who eat too much candy and ice cream get sick from it. They may have illnesses like diarrhea, nausea, and a painful belly-ache, but that doesn't mean that they have the "spiritual disease of candyism" that forces them to eat candy and makes them powerless over it.

By the way, if the AMA stated in 1956 that "alcoholism was an illness", and didn't get around to publishing an article in the JAMA that actually defined the disease of "alcoholism" until 1992, did they have an undefined "disease" for 36 years? What definition of "alcoholism" were they using in 1956, when they said that "alcoholism is an illness"?

Among the garbage that I am wading through on the AMA web site, trying to find that definition of "alcoholism", I see:

H-30.977 Alcoholism as a Disease

The AMA urges change in federal laws and regulations to require that the Veterans Administration determine benefits eligibility on the basis that alcoholism is a disease. (Res. 112, A-88; Reaffirmed: Sunset Report, I-98)
http://www.ama-assn.org/apps/pf_new/pf_online?f_n=browse&doc;=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.977.HTM &&s;_t=&st;_p=&nth;=1&prev;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-25.999.HTM&nxt;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.939.HTM&

That isn't a definition of alcoholism as a disease that makes people drink alcohol. That is just a naked grab for money. (I am all for giving veterans money, but how much of that does the A.M.A. want to divert to "treatment" of the veterans' alcoholism?)

H-30.995 Alcoholism as a Disability

(1) The AMA believes it is important for professionals and laymen alike to recognize that alcoholism is in and of itself a disabling and handicapping condition.
http://www.ama-assn.org/apps/pf_new/pf_online?f_n=browse&doc;=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.995.HTM &&s;_t=&st;_p=&nth;=1&prev;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-25.999.HTM&nxt;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.939.HTM&

Well like yeh, duh! Of course guys who are dying from alcohol poisoning are handicapped. What else is new? (Do you really have to go to medical school for 8 years to learn how to recite such obvious platitudes?)

But that is not a definition of "alcoholism, the disease that makes alcoholics drink alcohol."

H-30.996 Alcoholism Insurance

Our AMA supports (1) continued efforts to stimulate provision of a broad continuum of alcoholism treatment benefits by insurers that follow the plan of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; and (2) continued encouragement for consideration by state legislatures of legislation providing for truth in benefits advertising and clarity of contract language. (Sub. Res. 67, A-80; Reaffirmed: CLRPD Rep. B, I-90; Modified: Sunset Report, I-00)

http://www.ama-assn.org/apps/pf_new/pf_online?f_n=browse&doc;=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.996.HTM &&s;_t=&st;_p=&nth;=1&prev;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-25.999.HTM&nxt;_pol=policyfiles/HnE/H-30.939.HTM&

Well that is simple and obvious. That means, "Give me more money."

JAMA, Vol. 289 No. 13, April 2, 2003

Definitions of Binge Drinking

To the Editor: In their article on binge drinking among US adults Dr Naimi and colleagues defined binge drinking as "the consumption of 5 or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion." Although this definition of abusive drinking is frequently used in research, it may have little clinical relevance.


!Oooh! Soooo close! They are willing to define binge drinking, but they won't define "alcoholism, the spiritual disease that makes alcoholics powerless over alcohol".

Ah, wait, here we go. Finally:

JAMA Vol. 268 No. 8, August 26, 1992

The definition of alcoholism. The Joint Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine to Study the Definition and Criteria for the Diagnosis of Alcoholism

R. M. Morse and D. K. Flavin
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, New York, NY 10010.

To establish a more precise use of the term alcoholism, a 23-member multidisciplinary committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine conducted a 2-year study of the definition of alcoholism in the light of current concepts. The goals of the committee were to create by consensus a revised definition that is (1) scientifically valid, (2) clinically useful, and (3) understandable by the general public. Therefore, the committee agreed to define alcoholism as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic.
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/268/8/1012?maxtoshow=&HITS;=10&hits;=10 &RESULTFORMAT;=&fulltext;=Morse+%2B+Flavin&searchid;=1133057581624_6071&stored;_search= &FIRSTINDEX;=0&journalcode;=jama

Hmmm. What's wrong with this picture? Taken line by line, it seems mostly right, but it still feels awkward, like something is off base. That just doesn't feel quite right.

  1. There was no mention of the A.A. doctrine of alcoholism being a "spiritual disease", so they can't possibly be talking about the same disease as the A.A. pundits are talking about.

  2. There was not a word about the etiology of the disease — "What causes it?"
    We just got a vague statement that there are a lot of "factors" — genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors.

  3. There was no mention of alcoholics having any control over their lives, or having any choice in the matter of whether to commit suicide by ethanol.

  4. There was no mention of free will or will power, just the implication that it is somehow missing in alcoholics — "It is characterized by impaired control over drinking".
    But that isn't the same thing as saying that alcoholics are "powerless over alcohol".

  5. There was no explanation of how this "disease" could cause people to methodically drink themselves to death.

  6. There was not even a hint of how it is possible for more than 50% of all alcoholics to suddenly one day say, "I've had it. I quit.", and really do it. — Which really conflicts with the "loss of control" theory.

  7. What about the alcoholics who are not in denial, like me? In the last 17 years, I never denied being an alcoholic. I knew what the score was, and I never lied about it. Too often, I did suffer from distorted thinking, like imagining that the situation was hopeless because I was "powerless over alcohol and tobacco", just like the A.A. people said, so I might as well just give up and die, and stay stoned until the bitter end. (Thanks, A.A., for the twisted teachings that make people think that death is the only way out.)

  8. They say that the "symptoms" of alcoholism "may be continuous or periodic."
    That sort of sounds like the listed characteristics of alcoholism may be there, or they might not be there. What a perfect escape clause for all of the cases of alcoholism that don't fit the stereotype.

    (And the authors are also misusing the word "symptoms", when they should be saying "signs of the disease", just like how Bill Wilson and Marty Mann did. We have been through this before. I really don't expect such errors from "doctors".)

  9. Oh, and I just realized what else is missing: It never says that alcoholism is caused by drinking alcohol. That is a funny omission, isn't it? Again we see the glaring absence of any statements about the etiology of the "disease".

    It says that "alcoholism" is "characterized by the use of alcohol", but it does not say that drinking alcohol is the cause of alcoholism.
    How could they leave that out?
    Do they imagine that alcoholism could possibly be caused by anything other than drinking alcohol?
    (Well yes, actually. The authors think that alcoholism has a "spiritual" cause, because it is a "spiritual disease", but they aren't about the say that out loud, officially.)

  10. Hey! Wait a minute! Did you see that line underneath the names of the authors? I just noticed that.
    "National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, New York, NY 10010."
    That is the NCADD, the A.A. front group. That organization was founded by Marty Mann for the sole purpose of promoting Alcoholics Anonymous. The American Medical Association actually let an A.A. front group define alcoholism for them!

    That's what's wrong with that definition of alcoholism.

    In fact, that definition of alcoholism is so goofy that we can easily turn it into a satirical definition of 12-Step cultism, by only the smallest of rewordings:

    Therefore, the committee agreed to define Steppism as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over thinking, preoccupation with the 12 Steps, use of 12 Steps despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic.

  11. [The next day:]
    And it's even worse than I thought. Now that I am waking up this morning, and the coffee is sinking in, and my old brain is starting to work, I am looking at that headline again, and I realize that it says:
    "The Joint Committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine"

    The ASAM, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is yet another A.A. front group. That definition of "alcoholism" was actually written by a joint committee of two A.A. front groups.

    ASAM was founded by Dr. Ruth Fox, the doctor who liked to dose her alcoholic patients with LSD to make them more obedient and compliant. No joke. Really. The sole purpose of ASAM is to promote the 12-Step treatment of alcoholics, and to fool doctors into thinking that it is good medicine. Then Dr. Ruth Fox had quite a career of unsuccessfully treating alcoholics while proclaiming great success. For more on Ruth Fox, follow these links:

    We just have quack doctors and malpractice and brain police and cult true believers all over the place.

A.A. does not exist in a vacuum, and it never has. A.A. has always had auxiliary or front organizations, from the very earliest days:
  • Marty Mann, the first woman to get and stay sober in A.A., founded the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA), so that there would be an organization to push the A.A. point of view and engage in public controversy. (The NCA morphed into the NCADD, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.)
  • A little later, Dr. Ruth Fox founded an organization aimed at doctors, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), with the same goals as the NCA — to promote the 12-step cult religion method of treating alcoholism.
  • There is likewise yet another front group just for the 12-step-pushing counselors, the NAADAC, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. They are constantly campaigning to get more government money for the counselors. They call it "supporting parity" and "getting fair treatment for alcoholics and addicts".
    But guess what I couldn't find on their web site?
    Any real evidence that treatment actually works.
    They want to get paid more money without producing any results.
    (Help to oppose that fraud, here.)

By the way, you should know that the A.M.A. is not the official spokesman for all doctors, or the final arbiter in matters of medicine, or the supreme authority on medical issues. The A.M.A. is merely a club for doctors — just another association that hires lobbyists and pushes its positions on things. The last numbers that I heard indicated that maybe half of all doctors join the A.M.A.. Some doctors strongly oppose the A.M.A. because of some of its policies.

The A.M.A. has a very checkered past. From 1924 to 1949, the A.M.A. was headed by a tyrannical leader, Morris Fishbein, who built it up from basically nothing to the dominant organization that it is now by, among other things, practicing blackmail on pharmaceutical companies and forcing them to buy very expensive full-page ads for their medicines in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), or else he wouldn't let the A.M.A. recommend their medicines. Eventually, Morris Fishbein was convicted of racketeering.

The A.M.A. has been repeatedly busted for violation of anti-trust laws and found guilty of restraint of trade and anti-competitive practices, and not just in the distant past, either. They have a long history of choosing money and power over public health. There is much about the history of the A.M.A. that is sleazy and sordid.

So just because the A.M.A. says something doesn't mean that it is true, or that it is reliable information. The primary goal of the A.M.A. has been, and probably still is, to make itself and doctors rich.

You can find more on the sordid history of the A.M.A. here.

Back to Mr. Yoast's letter:
The statement that the DSM-IV supports the disease theory of alcoholism is a lie. Period. That is a grossly dishonest and deceptive statement. That is not a matter of a small misunderstanding. The writer had to know what he was saying, if he was at all qualified to speak for the American Medical Association. The writer had to know what was in the DSM-IV that he was referring to.

The American Psychiatric Association did not endorse the idea that alcoholism is a disease. They have consistently refused to do so. The APA has been very careful not to use the word "alcoholism", because the word is so ill-defined and politically loaded. Rather than admit that, the AMA mouthpiece just tried to snow you by referring you to the DSM-IV, and implying that it also supported the AMA idea of "alcoholism the disease".

The APA defined two alcohol-use mental disorders: Alcohol Abuse, and Alcohol Dependency, and 13 alcohol-induced disorders like intoxication, withdrawal, delusions, dementia, and sexual dysfunction. Look here for an image of the actual DSM-IV page.

Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependency are pretty much what they sound like. Alcohol Abuse is the mental disorder where someone habitually consumes so much alcohol that it is wrecking his health, and Alcohol Dependency is being addicted to alcohol.

Now that makes sense. If you are habitually drinking so much alcohol that it is killing you, then you really do need your head examined.

But the APA never used the word "alcoholism", nor did they say that it was a disease. I have looked in the DSM-III-R, DSM-IV, and DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision), and the word "alcoholism" isn't listed as a disease, and it isn't even in the index. I haven't found it anywhere in any of those books, and I have looked hard. They just won't touch that nasty word with a ten-foot pole. And Mr. Yoast must have known that when he wrote that answer to you.

Furthermore, what the Steppers do is a bait-and-switch trick. They will tell you that the AMA or the APA agree that "alcoholism is a disease", and then they pull a switcheroo and shove at you the A.A. definition of "alcoholism, the spiritual disease that is caused by sin and selfishness and moral shortcomings and defects of character, all of which must be listed and confessed to someone else", which is something that neither the AMA nor the APA ever endorsed.

Thanks again for a great question and an interesting letter.

And I still have to get to the hospital library and find the full text of that Morse-Flavin article. That should prove interesting. More on that later.

Have a good day.

== Orange


I got the full text of the article from a local hospital's research library, and it didn't add anything. The rest of the article just explained their rationalizations for that definition. The entire "definition of the disease of alcoholism" was accurately quoted in the synopsis.

Also see this letter for another response from the AMA.

Date: Wed, November 16, 2005
From: "Kim M."
Subject: More Straight/Sembler/Newton info

Thought you might find this interesting. It seems our "small" story may be picking up steam. Granted they may not be the 'mainstream' media YET, but hopefully we're getting there. I refer quite a few people to your site and they're amazed at what starts to unravel in their minds once they start reading. I hope you do follow ups on Miller Newton/Mel Sember (and his wife Ms. Ambassadorable as Jeb proclaimed her to be for her work with "troubled teens". Thanks again for keeping the story out there!! Every little bit helps!!!/

Hello again, Kim. It's nice to hear from you again.

Yeh, lots of good links. I'll definitely post this on the web site.


blog with a lot of us writing in...


This Bush Crony Has Blood on His Hands!
http://radioinsidescoop.com/mt-posts-archive/000504.html | Main
http://www.radioinsidescoop.com/mt-posts-current | Debate Monday

November 13, 2005

The Bush Crony Who Tortured American Teens, Part II

{You can listen to the shows here...}

broadcast stream:

Download MP3:
http://www.mytalkradio.com/InsideScoops/InsideScoop11-13-05.mp3 [Dead Link]

Why is a man who should be serving life in prison for torture appointed by President George W. Bush as Ambassador to Italy?

On Thursday's show, This Bush Crony Has Blood on his Hands! <http://radioinsidescoop.com/mt-posts-archive/000504.html>, THE INSIDE SCOOP was the first radio show to report on STRAIGHT, Inc., the teen-age rehab center more akin to a torture/concentration camp run by Melvin and Betty Sembler. Melvin Sembler was for many years until a few months ago, George W. Bush's U.S. Ambassador to Italy.

The testimonials from victims of this place were so horrific and so numerous that we barely scratched the surface. So reporter *John Gorenfeld* has agreed to come back to discuss this story this Sunday.

My second guest, *Dr. Arnold Trebach*, Justice Chief for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission during the Civil Rights Era of 1960-65, is Professor Emeritus at American University and Founder of The Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, DC. For two decades, Dr. Trebach has been investigating STRAIGHT.

My third and most important "guests" are the many survivors of Sembler's torture and abuse that have agreed to call in as well.

You won't want to miss today's show!

Here's John Gorenfeld's Article: Ambassador de Sade <http://alternet.org/story/27725/>

For an overview of just how bad Straight is, check out these links:

— a newspaper montage of Straight's abuses

— what professionals are saying about Straight

— the torture of Marcie Sizemore

— a flowchart of where the Straights are or have been

— Straight founder Mel Sembler's contributions to the Republican Party

— video of George H. W. Bush endorsing Straight from the White House

— Straight and the national GOP

— an overview of Straight's abuses http://www.theStraights.com/overview-abuses.htm

— the influence of Straight founders Mel and Betty Sembler on national drug policy

Wes Fager, Ed, http://www.theStraights.com

Posted by: Wesley Fager
at November 11, 2005 09:44 AM

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Gandalf said, "The demons of the darkness howl in
** pain when you shine the light of truth on them."

Date: Thu, November 17, 2005
Subject: My Own Experience

When I went to Iraq (compliments of the Arkansas Army National Guard), October 2003, I attended my last meeting, the day before I left. Did I get any cards or letters from them? No way! After writing to my group several times while I was there, I gave up on them. I did, however, get a lot of letters and packages from people that I did not know, none in AA. I got back from Iraq March 2005. I did see one person that attended the same meetings I attended before I left. She ignored me.

I then found out why, through a person that had attended the same meeting but stopped going. They were mad because I was getting married when I got back. This is no joke! There seems to be an anti-relationship bias in AA now.

I have been clean and sober now for ten years. I can hardly be considered a new comer. I did it all, including helping wet drunks get into detox and hospitals (I still do this). I no longer attend AA, but I still try to stay in contact with the people that I have tried to help and I am someone they can talk to, when they need an ear to listen. I no longer evangelize the 12 steps, but I still try to help others, which, I suppose, is a good way to stay sober.

My history is this: Porno, gambling, alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), family history of alcohol and drug addiction, cult addiction, etc. You name it, and if it wasted my time, effort, money, and energy, I did it.

In retrospect, I remember the meetings I went to and heard some fantastic 'spiritual' stuff, yet many times these people who said that stuff, were drunk, high, dead from a heroine over-dose, or had commited suicide in a matter of weeks. And some of these were circuit speakers and 'pillars' of the recovery community.

I think that the secret to my success of staying sober in AA was not the steps (except for the part of helping others), but being around others that were also at least staying sober.

John M.
Pineville, Missouri

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter and the story. It says a lot. And congratulations on your sobriety.

And as a fellow veteran, I also have to say to the public,

      "The Republicans who control Congress are really screwing over the vets and the guys currently serving in Iraq — not enough armor, not enough anything, reducing combat pay, closing VA hospitals, defunding the VA. Do you know how many military wives have to get food stamps to feed their children? (And now the Republicans are cutting 300,000 people off of food stamps, too.) That sucks big time. Support the troops by giving them a BIG pay hike for Christmas, like a 100% increase in pay (not some picayune 5% or 10%) and by actually really funding the Veteran's Administration so that they can do things for the vets. And support the troops by giving those worthless back-stabbing two-faced politicians hell about it."
      What? You think that's too much of a pay raise? Don't you think they are worth it?
How much would we have to pay you to get you to go over there and duck bullets and dodge bombs?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "You go to war with the jokes you have, not the jokes
** you might want or wish to have at a later time."
**  == Our Secretary of Offense, Ronald McDumsfeld

Date: Thu, November 17, 2005
From: "David W. R."

Wow, I have never seen so much energy placed into an anti-12 step tirade before. If you put � the energy into working the **program** of AA as you did into penning this drivel, not only would you have **recovered** by now (yes, permanent recovery is guaranteed ? read page 85. Don?t dissect; don?t analyze ? READ it), but you would have helped countless others.

Good luck.
David W. R.

Hi David,

Why on earth would I want to "work the program"?
I have 5 years of sobriety without A.A. or the 12 Steps or "working the program", so I have no need for cult religion or quack medicine.

And it doesn't matter what it says on page 85 of the Big Book. Bill Wilson was crazy. That book is worse than worthless. Bill was merely writing down his delusions, like:

We will seldom be interested in liquor.   ...
We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.

And that "miracle" is immediately followed by:

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 85.

Hmmm... Not a miracle at all.
And the "without any thought or effort on our part" has turned into a lifetime of slave labor in just the space of one paragraph.

Yes, page 85 is quite a trip.
Bill was definitely off of his meds that day.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

From: "Linda L."
Date: Thu, November 17, 2005

who are you and what's wrong with you?

What's wrong with me?

I'm getting old, my hair turned gray, my teeth fell out, and I don't have 60 beautiful young virgins in my harem.

What's your problem?

[2nd letter from Linda, 1/2 hour later:]

Date: Thu, November 17, 2005

Maybe I'm just too smart to be a stupid, simple addict, but I have had a great deal of success and personal growth as a result of working several 12 step programs. I have never had any particular definition of god forced on me, have never been demeaned, discounted or shamed. The steps have wording that can be difficult to overlook, but the results of self-examination and taking responsibility have created maturity in my personality. I have taken part in many varied forms of spirituality, behavior modification, psychotherapy and tried quitting on my own. So far I am in the longest period of abstinence of my life since starting intoxicants and I credit the NA program for that. The hostile tone of your text indicates many things to me and I feel sorry for you. How dare you call this a cult when not everyone has the same experience in it?

Hello Linda,

Congratulations on your success in getting off of drugs.

The fact that you enjoy your meetings does not mean that

  1. they are good for other people, or that
  2. N.A. and A.A. should be forced on other people for their own good, or that
  3. the meetings actually cure drug or alcohol problems, or that
  4. your N.A. meetings made you quit drugs, or that
  5. Steppism is not a cult.

Your statement that you tried a lot of things, and couldn't quit drugs, and then you did, reveals that it was another learning experience.
It usually is.
If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again.

Eventually you got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and decided to really quit, rather than just sort-of try.

You imagine that N.A. is responsible for your staying off of drugs, but that is simply a groundless assumption. You give the credit to N.A. because you just happened to be in N.A. when you quit drugs.

Did you try anything else after you quit drugs?
Did you try any more of the behavior modification, psychotherapy, or spirituality?

No, of course not.

So you didn't even give anything else a chance, did you?

You overlook the simple fact that nothing "worked" until you quit drugs, and then, after you quit, anything would have "worked".

Yes, I sometimes have a hostile tone. I think that harming people, and even occasionally killing people, with quack medicine and cult religion is a despicable crime. I think that deceiving people in the name of God is really low and vile.

If you want to read stories from some other people who didn't enjoy their meetings as much as you enjoy yours, you should read the other letters that I receive.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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.

Date: Thu, November 17, 2005 8:16 pm
From: Spiritingeagle
Subject: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

Just a remark about your article "The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A." With the grace and love of the program of AA I have been drug and alcohol free for 21 years. The shortest paragraph of the Big Book is on page 88 and it states "It works — it really does".

Here is a reply to an Email I received asking me what I thought about the article.


If you want me to read the whole of the article then that may take awhile, but right off I realized that the writer (A. Orange) is using today's insights and knowledge of smoking to a time of the past. Clearly this is not logical and questions arise of the writers own state of mind. If only we knew then what we know now type of remark. Quite frankly (pun intended) with that observation it makes me wonder why I should read anymore. But I will if you really want me to.

Easy Does It

Hi Eagle,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your years of sobriety. Of course I strongly disagree about the cause of your sobriety. I think that you finally quit drinking because you decided to.

Now about Don's letter:
Brother is that answer a classic cop-out — "using today's insights and knowledge of smoking to a time of the past." That is just a lame excuse for Bill Wilson being stupid in 1939.

As if people in 1935 or 1940 or 1950 weren't able to notice that their throats and chests hurt from smoking? As if they weren't able to notice that smoking made colds and flues and bronchitis worse? As if they couldn't notice that smoking cut down on their wind and made them wheezing and short of breath? (They did notice it. Bill even complained on that page that the alcoholic's wife was complaining about his smoking, and trying to get him to quit.)

And then Bill and his fellow Steppers claimed that they were getting Guidance from God while practicing Step 11 — so, what? — was God too stupid in 1940 to notice that smoking damages people's lungs and wrecks their health and gives them cancer? Didn't God ever say to Bill Wilson, "You should quit smoking that evil weed?"
Or was Bill Wilson just not listening to God?

Oh, and Don dodged all of the other important points in that web page, like how could Bill Wilson claim that the guy who chain-smoked and threw screaming drunken temper tantrums to get his own way was "spiritual" and "a most effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous", while his clean and sober (and non-smoking) wife was just an unspiritual nag who needed to learn real spirituality from her alcoholic husband? That's insane.

Then Don complains that my logic is bad?

If we follow Don's logic, we should throw away the entire 12-Step program because that is just the primitive knowledge of the past, not up to par with today's medical knowledge, and we should not apply it to the problems of today.

And you know, that is a conclusion that I can agree with.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Subject: Just an Opinion
Date: Sat, November 19, 2005 7:33 pm

Dear A. Orange,

I visited your "The Heresy of the Twelve Steps web site and I can offer you this: I'm a believing, practicing Christian who has been troubled with sexual addiction all my life. Though my Lord and my God were hearing my cries for help, I wasn't really listening for His reply because I felt that I was unworthy of help. I knew about "surrender" as a Christian, but I had never learned how to do it. When I met the local crowd from Sexaholics Anonymous, a lot of things fell into place that never had before. I am now happier in my service to God and my church than ever before because, with the help of my Lord, simply beginning the twelve-step program opened my eyes to His truths. I'm back in the fold, praise the Lord!

We use expressions such as "God /as we understood him/" because many addicts are afraid of God and are reluctant to approach Him because they feel they are unworthy. Many sinners approach cautiously "/as we understand him/" and come to the Light, the Truth and the Way as a result.

I'm sorry you feel that twelve-step programs are heresy. To you the programs may be heresy, but to me, Sexaholics Anonymous is a lifesaver. I was afraid to call out to my God for help, so I called out to men like myself. They turned me right back around and taught me how to listen for the answers to my prayers. To me, the twelve-step program was a program through which God spoke to me.

A quotation from a fellow named Herbert Spencer: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Your friend,
Philip T.

Dear Philip,

You shouldn't be sorry that I feel that twelve-step programs are heresy.

You should be sorry that the twelve-step programs really are heresy, and you are practicing it.

What part of the file "The Heresy of the 12 Steps" did you not understand?

Just because you have become a happy true believer in 12-Steppism doesn't mean that you are practicing Christianity, or that Steppism is a good religion.

Please read the entire file "The Heresy of the 12 Steps" again.

Oh, and while you are examining all of the facts, you really should also read The Cult Test, the whole thing, questions and answers.

And yes, I know all about the quote from Herbert Spencer. I begin my web site with it. And the reason it is there is, Herbert Spencer had to constantly exhort the true believers to actually look at all of the facts before making up their minds about things. Then, as now, there were a whole lot of people who didn't want to actually look at all of the facts and think about them for a while. They were narrow-minded and prejudiced and they just wanted to believe what they already believed.

Nothing has changed.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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."

P.S.: About your rationalization,
"We use expressions such as "God /as we understood him/" because many addicts are afraid of God and are reluctant to approach Him because they feel they are unworthy."

So, you admit that you don't tell the newcomers the truth about your religious beliefs. You use "expressions" to give newcomers "the right impression" and lead them to believe that they can be comfortable in your religion. You hide the truth about A.A. behind "expressions", slogans, and misleading language to keep them from shying away from your program. Your attitude towards the newcomers is, "The truth? You can't handle the truth!"

There is a name for that practice. It is called deceptive recruiting. It is a form of dishonesty — deceiving people about the real religious nature of the A.A. program. Just feed the newcomers some happy pablum — soft-peddle the religiosity — tell them anything to keep them coming back. Tell them that they can believe in any kind of a god or "higher power" that they want, or that they can believe in nothing at all. Use euphemisms and "expressions" and misleading language to mask what A.A. really is.

Only reveal the truth to the newcomers later, after they have become committed members. And only reveal the truth about the organization and the real program a tiny bit at a time, so that they don't freak out and run away.

There is nothing moral or spiritual about that behavior. It's a standard cult practice, and it's listed in the Cult Test — item 25, Deceptive Recruiting. See the question here, and the answer for A.A., here.
And that practice also shows cult characteristic number 33: "Newcomers can't think right."
"In the opinion of the elders, the newcomers cannot think right. The elders believe that they are justified in practicing deceptive recruiting to get new people to join their group, precisely because the newcomers cannot think correctly, so it doesn't really matter what the newcomers are told, or what they think, anyway."
See the question here, and the answer for A.A. here.

That practice is grossly heretical and unChristian. Jesus didn't teach his followers,
"Fib to the newcomers, and don't talk openly and plainly about the God stuff, or else you might scare them away before we have a chance to convert them. Make up expressions to mask our real religious beliefs."
Um, no. What happened to that much-mentioned A.A. "rigorous honesty"?

Bill Wilson described that process very clearly and explicitly:

...drinkers would not take pressure in any form, excepting from John Barleycorn himself. They always had to be led, not pushed. They would not stand for the rather aggressive evangelism of the Oxford Group. And they would not accept the principle of "team guidance" for their own personal lives. It was too authoritarian for them. In other respects, too, we found we had to make haste slowly. When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 74-75.

Bill felt that he was spiritually superior to, and better than, the newcomers, because they didn't like the fascism that was inherent in the Oxford Groups cult, while Bill the High Holy Alcoholic had no problem with it. When the newcomer alcoholics refused to accept the authoritarian behavior of the Oxford Group leaders, and rejected Bill's Buchmanite cult religion, Bill Wilson arrogantly sneered at the alcoholics, and said that 'They simply did not want to get "too good too soon"'. That made Bill feel justified in only doling out the truth about his version of Buchmanism to the newcomers "by teaspoons, not buckets".

And finally, two pages later, Bill Wilson wrote that he had an ulterior motive all along. His real purpose wasn't to help the alcoholics to sober up....

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, it really is a cult.

Date: Sat, November 19, 2005
From: "Chris K."
Subject: Twelve Step Programs

I read most of the article you have on the Internet regarding the ineffectiveness of 12 step programs. I thank you for the insights.. I am admittedly an alcoholic and told my new doctor such this week. Of course he wanted to send me to AA right away and told me that was the solution to my drinking problems. I explained to him that I had been through AA several times over the years and that my success rate was zero. I suffer from depression and listening to these people made it worse. They had nothing to offer me. I have sent him your article but I expect it will do no good. I know that if I'm going to stop drinking that it will be with the support of my wife and I will do it on my own. Hopefully I'll be one of the 5% that make it through. I've been through rehabs, Naltrexone, Antabuse, etc. and it doesn't last. Maybe one of these days I'll clean up my act for the sake of my family but the 12 step programs are a complete failure. Thank you for your insightful article.

Chris K.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments, and welcome to the club.

A big part of getting it together to quit and stay quit is increasing your motivation to quit. I like the way that SMART puts emphasis on that. You should check them out. You will find SMART meetings to be a breath of fresh air after 12-Step meetings.

Also check out all of the rest of the pro-recovery resources on the links page.

And read about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. Understanding his mind games as he tries to get me to relapse has been a huge help in staying sober.

Good luck, have a good day, and don't hesitate to write back if you feel like it.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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.

From: Heather Golightlymuse
Subject: Gratitude — On Thanksgiving AND The Other 365 Days!
Date: Mon, November 21, 2005 11:23 am

Have a great Thanksgiving! I came across this article about gratitude on MySpace, and thought it was timely and true. I know when I let go of fear and stay open, opportunities I yearn for start showing up without much effort on my part.

The next time you wonder why something you want is not showing up in your life ask yourself "Am I available?" Because all you really need is to be available. Spirit is pouring out Its blessings all the time. Spirit is infinite giving, infinite opportunities, infinite possibilities, infinite goodness.

But Spirit can only give to us the extent that we accept, because it pours its goodness out through us and as us. So we prepare ourselves to be available. We increase our ability to be available. We get still and go within to that secret sacred place within all of us where the truth of our being is so clear. We become fully present to whom and what we really are. We open up our heart, our mind, and even our soul. In the awareness of our oneness with Spirit we are able to release anything from our lives that does not serve us. We let go of anger, resentment, worry, lack of forgiveness, fear, or whatever it is that is blocking the flow of good from coming into our lives. By releasing these things we create a greater opening for the good we desire. Our consciousness shifts and our availability increases. Now we can simply relax, let go, and remember that we are being held in the loving embrace of Spirit.

AFFIRM: I am available for Spirit to express Its goodness in and as my life right now.

*/ I also discovered a wonderful web site: www.gratefulness.org


Hi Heather,

Thanks for the thought. You have a happy Thanksgiving too.

== Orange

From: kevin g.
Subject: truth.
Date: Sun, November 20, 2005

howdy from austin texas. my name's kevin and i was recently charged with DWI. i haven't been to court yet, but as a condition of my release on p.r. bond i must attend a.a. meetings thrice a week. While googling 'why we were chosen' on the advice of my over-eager sponsor, i fortunately landed on the orange papers. Thank god for you. <i already developed a contact with my higher power navigating hallucinigens and teenagism>. Whoa are you on the money!!

I never attempted quitting alcohol or drugs until this last arrest. I'm 32 and after 18 years of drinking and drugging i was/am ready for life to change. I honestly think i have spontaneously remitted. But people in a.a. including my temp sponsor, whom i fired yesterday, won't hear of it!! they quote the "big book" and say 'maybe you should try some more controlled drinking,'..etc. Yeah! what about the solution to my drinking problem?

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. Sorry to hear about your difficulties. I'm glad to hear that you are otherwise okay. And congratulations on the quitting.

The reason that the sponsors don't want to talk about spontaneous remission is because it means that you don't need them. The whole A.A. thing is pointless and unnecessary when you find that 80% of all of the successful quitters do it alone, without any support group or treatment program. (The Harvard Medical School said that, here.)

you are so dead on, and the more i research your site the more i see it. i have probably been to 45 meetings or so.. the thing is I haven't even been to court yet, and I'll probably get some probation with mandatory meetings.

I was wondering if you've ever heard of someone requesting the rep. voice rec. or some other meetings/treatment in place of a.a. and if it is possible. I guess i should ask my lawyer, but he seems to be pretty a.a. friendly <his son is in a.a.>

The answer is "Absolutely YES!" You can start with my short write-up of legal cases and judges' decisions, here.

And then you can look at Ken Ragge's web site, "More Revealed", and get the actual decisions of a bunch of critical cases where high court judges, including the Supreme Court, ruled that A.A. was a religious organization, or engaged in religious activities. Go to:
http://www.morerevealed.com/courts/index.html — Archive of documents, including the legal decisions that declared that A.A. was engaging in religious ceremonies, and that sentencing someone to go to A.A. meetings was unconstitutional.

It is blatantly illegal and unconstitutional to sentence anyone to A.A. meetings. The judge must also allow a non-cult-religion alternative, like SMART or something. You can get a list of the SMART meetings from their web site:

SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.
Also see his book, When AA Doesn't Work for You, Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.

The big problem is just that some judges are married to A.A., for various reasons. Some are members themselves, although they won't admit it in public. Some, like your lawyer, have relatives in it. Some are just grossly misinformed and are convinced that it is a good thing that produces lots of success stories. And some judges know the truth, but use A.A.-based programs by default because that's all there is in their area.

When a judge insists that YOU WILL go to a 12-Step meeting, it is questionable how much you wish to incur the wrath of the judge by arguing with him. Legally, you are right, and legally, he can still screw you into the ground. So proceed cautiously and respectfully.

At least thanks to you i know I won't get duped!! Hahahaha... I have tried some questions about the cult aspect and the responses are as you describe. I feel so sad for some of these people!! I just can't believe i have to continue to go..

Thank You So Much for your time and effort! Your efforts have saved my mind. and thanks for your time

p.s. the quote about 'all that is required for evil to triumph over good is that good men do nothing' i read as being ascribed to Ghandi. you probably know that.

No, I wasn't really sure where that quote came from. Thanks for the tip.


Thanks for all of the thanks. And it isn't so much of a secret any more. Google has been pretty good about putting me high up on their lists. I was very surprised to discover that one of my web pages was the first choice on a "children's gulags" Google search.

Have a good day, and good luck.

== Orange

Date: Tue, November 22, 2005 12:52 am
From: "Andrew"
Subject: more mail for you

Dear Agent Orange

I forget how I first came across your site, but at the time I regarded it as the disordered rant of someone who'd got a resentment at AA and gone out and drunk again, but not so much as to prevent him producing a website. Recent events mean that I'm less sure.

The revelations about the Oxford Group come as no surprise — I bought a second-hand copy of Driberg's 'The menace of Moral Re-Armament' in my student days years ago and wish to God it hadn't been one of the books I sold in a job lot, ostensibly for living expenses during one of my long periods of unemployment, but in fact to help fund my drinking. I had always assumed, though, that AA and Bill Wilson had been veritable beacons of light in comparison with the odious Buchman, but such was obviously not the case.

I have had two spells in AA — the first a brief one six years ago, which ended when I couldn't handle my mother's illness and death and drank again for a year, the second starting just over five years ago through a treatment centre, since when I have been actively involved in 'the rooms', have stayed sober and enjoyed more success than I ever had before. I have been secretary of two meetings, one after the other, the first in London and the second near my home some forty miles outside it, and I am now GSR of a meeting in my home town, which fortunately is not too onerous a commitment.

Happy though I have generally been in AA, there have been a number of 'revelations' which have given me pause for thought, but about which I do not feel free to speak openly. I have had two sponsors and have done the steps after my own rather eccentric fashion, which the hardliners would tell me is no way to do it, so I tend not to share about that and avoid meetings (like step meetings) at which I might have to.

My first sponsor was someone I met during my first attempt at sobriety, who made the effort to keep in touch with me even while I was out drinking (which is more than anyone else has ever done), and that is what prompted me to ask him to sponsor me. As he worked shifts as a night watchman in another town, our sponsor/sponsee relationship was conducted almost exclusively over the phone, and he was enormously supportive.

Nearly two years into sobriety, I decided to return to the practice of the Christian faith, which I had abandoned during my drinking, and about which my treatment centre had been highly disparaging, taking the view that my God had not kept me sober and so all pretence at believing in Him should be abandoned. Returning to active membership of the Church of England (i.e. Episcopalian) for me involved making my confession in order to be able to make my communion at Easter. I therefore booked an appointment at a church in London, wrote out all the things I had done wrong since my last confession many years before (when a monk had advised me to go to AA!) plus a few from my youth that I'd half-deliberately forgotten about, and went and did the deed. I did this without telling my sponsor, at least until afterwards (yet another black mark in the eyes of the step-Nazis!) but when I did, he simply said, 'congratulations, you've done step 5'. This thing that everyone in meetings bangs on about being so horrendously difficult I had done just like that! But this is something I have never felt able to share about openly, as it is quite clear from everything said by everyone else that sacramental confession is a no-no, and the practice of the Christian religion a sign of being in the problem rather than the solution.

My then sponsor left the fellowship, basically over the 13th-stepping that goes on and which horrifies him. He hasn't been to a meeting for over two years, but he hasn't had a drink, holds down a job, has been sacked from a job for refusing to be dishonest (that's what I call working a program of rigorous honesty), goes to church and raises money for charity. Dry drunk or what? And what a contrast to so many of those regarded around here as winners with whom one should stick, who waste their qualifications, live on state benefits and spend all their time going to AA meetings.

My second sponsor was/is a woman who talked me into sacking sponsor #1 on the grounds that if he wasn't going to meetings, he was a dry drunk and should be avoided. I bitterly regret that. It has to be said that she was very helpful when my father died last year, but she basically regarded me (like so many men in the rooms) as a meal ticket, and I was fool enough to fall for it. She habitually walks out of jobs and is heading for bankruptcy, but treats herself to exotic foreign holidays several times a year, paid for on a succession of credit cards that she obtains by I know not what means, but probably dishonest ones.

After my father died, I inherited a certain amount of money. Obviously, I shared that with her, as you have to, and she advised me not to share about it openly as people would only start poncing money off me. Then, when I got back from a holiday in Belgium a couple of months later (at a time when she was on one of her jaunts in Italy) she asked me to lend her a thousand pounds to pay the rent. Not thinking it very likely that I'd ever get the money back, I refused, and she promptly sacked me (by text message!), called me 'judgmental' and forbade me to contact her or turn up to any of the meetings to which she goes, which include the one in London of which I used to be secretary and where I have (had?) the best friends I had in the fellowship. What do you make of that? Funny how you only really become wise to what's wrong with something when it affects you personally?.

I now frequently revisit your site and Jack Trimpey's, whose book on Rational Recovery is my current bedside reading. Much of it tallies with the thinking I have developed over my time in AA. I am seriously thinking about leaving the fellowship outright, although I don't want to cause inconvenience to the friends I am helping out by doing the GSR job — they are among the good guys in the rooms and there are a lot of them I would miss and who would not be allowed to be in touch with me if I left.

To those who would say to me that I haven't really done the steps I would ask. "Then how come I'm still sober?" Still sober, despite having gone through losing an uncle and a father, a pet cat, losing one job and getting another, doing such forbidden things as going on holiday somewhere where there are no AA meetings, staying away from meetings. Still sober, despite being cold-shouldered by many of the fellowship (isn't it funny how you're told to 'pick up the phone' all the time, yet nobody ever phones you?). Still sober and holding down the same job for four years, even though someone told me I should give up work, sign on for benefits and devote my life to meetings in order to stay sober? Well, I am. God (and I mean that literally) knows why.

I do hope you will find the time to reply to this. If you wish to add it to your site, please omit my surname but feel free to mention that I am in England.

Aylesbury, England

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for a great letter. Have a good day.

== Orange

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