Letters, We Get Mail, CCXC

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Tony_M ]

Date: Wed, February 15, 2012 8:10 pm     (answered 24 February 2012)
From: "tony M."
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult

Hello Orange,

I read your online article titled as above and found it to be both engrossing and very disturbing.

As at yesterday I have been sober 14 years with life changes beyond anything I could imagine. Whilst you make some good reasoned points backed up by references, your paper displays a great deal of hostility and apparent anger directed at the AA program and what you term to be the faithful.

Frankly what you do here is exactly what you accuse the program of — spreading fear, mistrust and a close mind.

I respect your right to opinion and feel at the same time sad for your ignorance. You are no better than the "big book bangers" you so disparage — however they intend nothing but to help the sick even if misguided you may feel that is. What exactly are you doing to help the addicted?

Kind regards,


Hello Tony,

Thanks for the question. And the answer is, "Telling the truth to sick people is not the same thing as foisting an old cult religion on sick people, and telling them that it is a cure for a disease."

The first thing that I do for alcoholics is tell them the truth. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Then we talk a lot about what works to quit drinking and improve your life. Look here: 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/      *
**     Wonderful little our fathers knew,
**     Half their remedies cured you dead —
**     Most of their teaching was quite untrue.
**       ==  Rudyard Kipling, Our Fathers of Old, Stanza 3

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Susan ]

Date: Fri, February 17, 2012 7:56 pm     (answered Tue, February 21, 2012 3:13 pm)
From: Susan
Subject: sobriety

So, Orange, did you ever get sober?

Hello Susan,

Yes, I've been sober for 11 years now.
Have a good day.
== Orange

*          [email protected]       * 
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
*    https://www.orange-papers.info/forum   *
** "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.

Date: Tue, February 21, 2012 3:15 pm
From: Susan
Subject: Re: sobriety

Good for you.

Date: Sun, February 19, 2012 6:13 pm     (answered 25 February 2012)
From: Susan
Subject: AA

I guess I just have to ask why AA WOULD work well on people sent by the courts. In Myrtle Beach, the meetings I went to didn't like that and some chairing meetings wouldn't sign paperwork. The thought is that the practice goes against the tradition that the program is one of attraction, not promotion... and people that don't want to be there, well, you have to want to beat your problem. But some of the people I knew in AA were there at the behest of something other than a deep desire to get sober. Some came because a boss suggested it to them, others came because a spouse wanted it... And they ended up staying because they liked something they heard and stuck with it. My own BIL went to AA meetings for three years via California Court and he has maintained his sobriety despite leaving the fellowship when his term was up. He still refers to it fondly and references it often. Another left AA once achieving sobriety, and puts her efforts forth with a renewed interest in her church.

Hello again, Susan,

I quite agree that forcing people to go to A.A. meetings is quite against "the Traditions". It is also against the Law, and against the Constitution. And of course it doesn't work. People change themselves when they want to, not when a cult religion or judge or boss tells them to.

And yes, some people will succumb to the brainwashing and become true believers. It happens in every cult. That's how they get new members and continue the cult.

As far as I see it, the 12 steps and the fellowship of AA has helped me maintain sobriety for a number of years. Hope to continue. I don't consider it a cult or brainswashing, but I don't dispute that some are more enthusiastic than others about the program. The 12 steps are simply the commonalities in most of the religions in the world. I disputed heavily with my sponsor that it wasn't a religious program. But what if it is? It still helped me do something that was very good for my life.

Of course you like the 12 Step religion. Otherwise you wouldn't stay in it. And of course you believe that it helped you. I can't even argue that point. Statistics cannot prove or disprove an individual case. But what I can argue is that on average, A.A. hurts more people than it helps. If A.A. produces a few success stories and a lot more failures, then what A.A. is doing is not good. And of course we can notice that the recovery rate inside of A.A. is no better than the recovery rate of people who quit alone, on their own.

I get confused about your anger, though. I read on one site that your family got involved with rehabs in the 80s, and that your parents were rather unusual. The issue then is your mom and dad, who saw drunks in absolutely everyone and that AA was the only way. Even AA doesn't claim that. So why the angst with AA? AA doesn't have rehabs, although I understand that many borrow heavily from the works of Bill and Bob. I also read on one site where a famous singer in a band was forced to bring 28k or his wife couldn't take him home. The writer was quoting AA in his prose without acknowledging that Better Ford is a medical facility with no affiliation with AA, so why be angry with AA that BF charges money for its services? Also, what is this "leaving AA" bit? It isn't hard at all to do. If someone wants to leave, they just walk out the door and don't come back. No one is going to chase them down or lock them in a room. Now, it may be that the friends you make in the fellowship will spend less time with you if you want to go back to drinking. Why would they want to hang with an active drunk? You find that you have little in common with them.

Sorry, but you are confusing me with somebody else. My father was a career sergeant in the Air Force who was also a career alcoholic, and my mother was a typical stay-at-home military wife. My mother had no involvement with rehabs, ever, and my father's only experience with rehabs was going through at least three of them, and then not staying sober.

My anger at A.A. is because of how A.A. shoves an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties on sick people and then lies to the whole world about what the real results are.

The fact that most rehabs are selling the 12-Step cult religion while remaining legally independent of Alcoholics Anonyous World Services, Incorporated, does not excuse A.A. for the harm done by the whole racket.

Your argument about leaving A.A. is invalid. After people have been frightened with induced phobias, they have a hard time leaving. I am reminded of the words of Paul Masson, whom I just quoted in a previous letter:

A prison warden, a slaveholder, and a psychotherapist have in common the desire to control another person. (The analogy may appear inexact, for the person in therapy, many believe, is free to leave or quit. I don't believe this is true, though it would require a discussion of the concept of "informed consent."
Against Therapy; Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Page 147.

The above statement is also true of an A.A. sponsor. He or she also desires to control the behavior of another person. To argue that "It's for his own good" doesn't change the fact that the desire is to control the behavior of another person, and A.A. uses a variety of mind games and mental tricks like Phobia Induction and death threats to do it.

People who have been convinced that they will die if they leave the cult, or leave treatment, are not entirely free to choose, and they are not "free to leave". In fact, they are effectively trapped.

I have recovered from active alcoholism, but I am still an alcoholic in the same respect that I have a peanut allergy. I wouldn't subject myself to what happens when I am around peanut products, and I finally understood that booze was no different for me. I do believe it is a disease and I have tons of alcoholism on both sides of my family, so I also think there is a genetic disposition for it. I also have the cancer gene. I don't discount or parse it. I certainly consider it a disease before a moral failing or other such nonsense.

I am also a recovered alcoholic who cannot drink one single drink. My body also reacts badly to alcohol, almost as if I had an allergy. But that is not a disease. Allergy to peanuts or bee stings is not a disease. It's just a fact that some people have to live with by avoiding eating peanuts or getting stung by bees.

I also think that there is a genetic component to alcohol abuse. My father had it before me, and his mother had it before him. That still does not make it a disease. My favorite description of the genetics is this:

A researcher who found a gene for the tendency to abuse alcohol stated that there is evidence that "A Functional Neuropeptide Y Leu7Pro Polymorphism [is] Associated With Alcohol Dependence in a Large Population Sample From the United States". He explained it this way:
"This is only the second specific genetic mechanism ever identified that modulates risk for alcohol dependence."
(See: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59:825-831;

I like that careful terminology: Modulates the risk for, not causes, alcohol dependence. Having the gene increases your odds for having a problem with alcohol, but does not cause you to drink, and it does not make you an alcoholic. And having that gene is not a "disease". It's just a condition that we have to recognize, and deal with appropriately — by not drinking alcohol.

AA never says it is the only way to get sober. Plenty of people maintain sobriety in any number of ways, and that is fine. In Myrtle Beach, the meetings I went to had a high level of long term sobriety. But just because people leave the fellowship isn't a reason to conclude that they went back out. Sometimes (and most in my experience), they just moved forward. Smoking was a large issue and we lost a number of people (groupwise) due to that. But that doesn't mean these people left the fellowship or drank.

Actually, A.A. says that it is the Only Way a lot. A whole lot. They do a bait-and-switch trick on that one. First, Bill Wilson said that A.A. was not the only way, and "we only know a little", but then the rap changed to "Work the Steps or Die!"

See these two items for much, much more:

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

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

Your casual observations of people coming and going, and maybe staying sober or not, isn't reliable evidence of anything. You just can't see the whole picture from your seat in a meeting room. And unless you kept formal written records with names and dates, you don't know how many people came and were appalled by what they saw, and left, and were not helped by A.A. You also don't know how many people relapsed badly, and you don't know about the people who didn't "keep coming back" because they committed suicide. Only properly-controlled clinical studies and tests will really establish what the success or failure numbers are. And when those tests were done, A.A. was a total failure. Look here: Results of doctors' clinical tests of A.A..

I agree with some of what you say, disagree with others... but I wonder what happened to you that caused you to become so bitter toward an organization that you devote so much energy to it? I don't think I would do that. I think I would have just moved on with peace, hoped that it worked for some (as it certainly does) and gone on about my way. I think of AA as coaching the same way as my many friends have gotten into "life coaching." Not much difference to my mind, and everyone I've ever known that has been involved with self-help, be in AA, NA, OA, grief groups... said that group support was very important to their sustained recovery.

What happened? Here are the answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. history of the Orange Papers, and
  5. creation of the web site

Then, continuing to tell the truth for years is just a matter of "It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it."

What you call "just moved on with peace, hoped that it worked for some" is what I would call giving up and letting the bad guys win, and letting them continue to hurt sick people with quack medicine.

Lastly, your observations that some people appear to have been helped in various groups is not evidence of success. You just assumed that the 12-Step routine did something good. You kept no records, you did no formal tests, no before-and-after evaluations, nothing. You just looked at a few apparently-happy people and assumed that Frank Buchman's cult religion practices "helped them", while ignoring all of those other people who were harmed by Buchman's practices.

Best of luck to you,


You have a good day too, Susan.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Perseverence furthers.
**       ==  The I Ching

Date: Sun, February 19, 2012 6:19 pm     (answered 25 February 2012)
From: Susan
Subject: Bipolar

PS: I have also never heard of anyone actually telling another not to take prescribed medications. Our literature even says that we aren't doctors, lawyers and some such, so don't rely on us for that type of thing. What I HAVE seen is alcoholic behavior mimics a number of things, such as bipolar and other illnesses. I know people that were even diagnosed with those things. But when they gave up the booze, the symptoms that caused many of those diagnosis were removed. Therefore, some that had been diagnosed as BiP chose to reevaluate. Some had never been honest with their medical professionals the extent to which they drank. If I ever heard of a person telling another to jettison meds that had been prescribed for them, I wouldn't be able to stay quiet about it... But I do know that it isn't an AA position that you cannot get help for medical conditions...



Hi again, Susan,

Well I have heard about the "No Meds" problem, lots. The other old guy who went through treatment with me was told to stop taking his medications as soon as he went to a Dual Recovery Anonymous meeting. Look here for the story.

And I've gotten a lot of letters where people complained about it. Look here for some examples of sponsors telling sick people not to take their medications.

Just because it doesn't happen in your group doesn't mean that it isn't happening in a lot of other places.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

[Also see this comment on Susan's "no meds" claim: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters295.html#Ray_S

UPDATE: There is now a whole file of "no meds" A.A. horror stories, here:
https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-no_meds.html == A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

Date: Wed, February 22, 2012 9:46 am     (answered 25 February 2012)
From: Susan
Subject: Where does Ebert

out Ann Landers? He never said she was an alcoholic, just that she said she hadn't been to one of those meetings for a very long time. It could have been an open meeting, for all you know. And that would even make some sense given how much she put the quiz in her column as a public service to the many that wrote to her with family related alcohol issues. I went to an NA meeting in Nebraska that they opened for me as an alcoholic. Never happier to be recovering from being a drunkard. Crack is a real deal... But just because you attend a meeting doesn't mean you are part of the fellowship.

This is how misinformation gets started that really doesn't even matter. Ann Landers nor her sister, Abby, were alcoholics, according to those that new them not just someone trying to make a point.

Hello again, Susan,

We discussed that a long time ago, and came to the conclusion that Ann Landers (really, Eppie Lederer) was not an alcoholic or a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, because she would not have needed to ask permission to attend a closed A.A. meeting if she was. Look here: Roger Ebert Talks About Ann Landers and AA, and here: Ann Landers not a member of A.A.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Meds quiet the still small voice of God."
**       ==  A.A. slogan

May 27, 2009, Wednesday:

wildflowers Wildflowers near the marina

Grass and Rock
Grass and Rock


[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Megan_M ]

Date: Sat, February 18, 2012 7:20 pm     (answered 25 February 2012)
From: "Megan MA"
Subject: Aa

Have you ever actually spent time recovering from addiction ? Or spent time in the groups of AA ?

Hello Megan,

Thanks for the questions. And the answers are: "Yes, lots of time."

I drank too much for about 20 years, and smoked for 30, and quit it all 11 years ago when my health collapsed. Here is more history: Who are you? and 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/      *
**     If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
**     If all you have is cult religion,
**        everything looks like a spiritual problem.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Gabes ]

Date: Sun, February 19, 2012 1:18 am     (answered 25 February 2012)
From: "gabes"
Subject: query

Dear Orange,

It seems to me that the only way to test Bill W's 'rarely if ever' claim would be to get a decent-sized cohort of newcomers to aa, then track their participation in the program (doing the steps, attendance at meetings, prayer, meditation, daily inventory, service, whatever else they do) and track recovery rates, over, say, a ten-year period.

This wouldn't tell us everything, in part because it might be hard or impossible to distinguish cases in which failure to work the program results in relapse from cases in which relapse results in failure to participate, from common-cause cases.

But it would tell us something, anyway.

Has anything like this been done?

If not, then one might conclude that research done to date doesn't show much, except that there is a high drop-out rate.

Would you agree?


Hello Gabriel,

Thanks for some good questions.

You are quite right when you notice that A.A. has not been tested as thoroughly as we would like. ("We" being both pro-A.A. and anti-A.A. people.) It's a valid question to ask whether people did the whole A.A. program or "worked the Steps right", or believed the right things. I don't know of any test or study that probed that deeply. And the longest study that I know if was Dr. Vaillant's, which went on for 8 years.

However, there have been some good tests, and they really did reveal some things:

  1. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased binge drinking, and

  2. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests of alcoholics, and

  3. Dr. Walsh found that A.A. increased the cost of hospitalization of alcoholics.

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

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

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

  6. And then, even though these items have not been surveyed and documented by doctors, there is plenty of evidence that the A.A. suicide rate and the A.A. divorce rate are big problems too. Psychology Today magazine stated that 25% of the marriages ended in divorce when people joined A.A.

No matter whether the patients "worked the Steps right", or believed the right things, or "turned their wills and their lives over to God", the people who were indoctrinated in the A.A. dogma that they are powerless over alcohol, and that they have an incurable disease, and they cannot ever recover, went on worse binges when they relapsed, and they died in greater numbers. The "powerless and incurable" doctrine seems to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Test results like that are why Alcoholics Anonymous does not wish to participate in any further testing of the effectiveness of 12-Step treatment. In fact, they have even pruned the list of questions that they ask in their triennial surveys, apparently because some annoying people analyzed the results and discovered things like the A.A. dropout rate and missing old-timers and coercion into A.A.

Now personally, I would love to see many more good valid randomized longitudinal controlled studies of Alcoholics Anonymous, and of other modes of addiction treatment too. But few other people want that. The 12-Step industry is opposed to it because they have nothing to gain and a lot to lose from more documented, verified proof that A.A. and its 12-Step program do not work at all to make people quit drinking, and just produce very harmful side effects. If they can't sell 12-Step cult religion, what do they have to sell?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Opposing viewpoints are welcome, just as long as they agree with mine.
**     This diet plan really works, just as long as you don't eat too much.
**     RARELY have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path.
**     "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
**     You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful
**     to take the bait."
**      ==   Bill Wilson describing early recruiting efforts for Alcoholics Anonymous,
**       at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Hope_C ]

Date: Mon, February 20, 2012 8:47 am     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "Hope C."
Subject: AA

I can't thank you enough for helping me save myself from AA.

There is no other place to go when you decide to not drink anymore and you want to socialize with other people who don't drink.

I trusted the only place I could go during a very vulnerable time in my life and they tried to sell me a bunch of somebody else's bullshit.

After finding your website and some others I was able to ask my "sponsor" a series of questions that she could not answer.

I simply asked her if she could tell me how I quit smoking, more of a stranglehold than my drinking ever was, without a 12 step program and she went into all of the slogans and sayings.

I realized at that moment what a zombie she was. She had no feelings, she had no opinion, she only had the opinion of the group, of the things she's heard during meetings, and what her sponsor has told her.

I point-blank asked her what her opinion was and she reverted back to the opinion of the group, what she's heard in meetings, and her sponsor. I couldn't get out of that place fast enough.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for what you do...."that's what I'm grateful for."

Hope C.

Hello Hope,

Thank you for the letter and thanks for the thanks. And congratulations for saving your own life. Congratulations on both the alcohol and tobacco. I also found quitting tobacco to be much harder than quitting alcohol. But how sweet it is to be able to breathe without it hurting.

And I'm really glad to hear that your mind is alive and functioning. You caught on fast.

Now there might be someplace else to go to socialize with non-drinkers, or more specifically, with ex-drinkers. There may be some meetings in your city of organizations like SMART or WFS or Lifering or SOS or something. Check out this list, and see where they have meetings, and see if there is something near you:

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If the facts change, I'll change my opinion. What do you do, Sir?"
**       —  John Maynard Keynes

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#WRS ]

Date: Tue, February 21, 2012 3:14 am     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "WRS145"

Bill W. advocated taking large doeses of vitamin b3 (niacin) this works. The AMA (American Medical Association) got involved with AA and took this part out (they really don't like those harmful vitamins...they get in the way of pharma profits) , read up on it. Much of the original work of Bill W. has been changed modified bastardized etc by other groups to give you the form it has today.

I'm very critical of AA as you are and I thing the brainwashing and guilt promoting strategies is more harmful than good, i am just saying I think some of your attack on Bill W. isn't justified or could be toned down. AA is the problem for the most part, and what you see at AA today is not what he intended in the beginning.

Hello WRS,

Thanks for the letter.

Your statements about Niacin are factually true, as far as I know. I don't know how much the AMA is to blame for downplaying vitamin therapy in A.A. I know that the AMA and the FDA are today interfering with people's freedom to take vitamins and herbs in general. You did not mention Bill Wilson also experimenting with LSD and other exotic experimental drugs like leuco-adrenochrome as treatments for alcoholism. That has really been downplayed. Nevertheless, it's pretty well known that Bill was into drugs, and he hoped that drugs would provide an answer to "alcoholism", or at least to his own mental problems.

I disagree that Bill Wilson is not to blame for what A.A. is now. I think that the fault lies with both Bill Wilson and the subsequent crazy A.A. fundamentalists. Bill Wilson made A.A. what it is. Bill hijacked a branch of Frank Buchman's fascist cult and made it his own. Bill Wilson sold Frank Buchman's evil cult religion in two books, the Big Book and "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions". In fact, Bill sold that cult religion all of his life. (And made a big pile of money doing it.)

Of course the deluded true believers who followed Bill Wilson did not improve the situation any, but they don't let Bill Wilson off of the hook. It isn't like Bill Wilson did anything good, and then his followers messed it up.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "God, please save me from your followers!"
**          ==  Bumper Sticker

May 27, 2009, Wednesday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Freeway and mountain
Freeway and Mountain
That is the tip of Mount Hood peeking through the freeway that is feeding into the Marquam Bridge.

Canada Goose family
The Family of 9

Canada Goose goslings
Goslings of the Family of 9

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Rage_Against ]

Date: Tue, February 21, 2012 8:34 am     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "Rage Against"
Subject: BANNED for linking to your site!


Your site has helped me in so many ways..

I joined a site called INTHEROOMS.COM that claims to be for people who want to quit drinking or using drugs... I was on the site for 1 week or so... About 18 hours ago I started linking some friends to your site...less than 24 hours later my account and IP address were banned from the site!

Just wanted you to know your writing is still making a difference for people like me and obviously strikes fear in the heart of the cult...

Why I would be banned for suggesting people are not powerless to stop drinking is beyond me... They clearly didnt like my suggestion that a person could stop drinking without joining the cult.. I just have to laugh about this whole situation. Everything I said was SUPPORTIVE of people who want to be sober but was questioning the idea that they couldnt do it without the cult.

Thats all they needed to hear to ban me.. Just the fact that I would suggest I could quit drinking without the cult created pure chaos on that site!

Anyway, thanks for being so rational in your explanation and opinions .... I agree with your writing 100%... and I was banned from the website for offering them INFORMATION and OPINIONS!

What kind of organization bans someone for having a different opinion of how to stay sober? If I stay sober now, I'm automatically wrong because I didnt do it their way... the sobriety isnt what matters to them ..... what matters is joining the cult.

Hello Rage Against,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

Wow. Banned just for linking and sharing an idea?

Yes, what happened to sharing "experience, strengths, and hopes"? It seems to have turned into "sharing the Party Line, or else".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A 2003 study by the American Psychological Association found:
**    "that conservatism can be explained as a set of beliefs and
**    behaviors that result from a psyche controlled by fear,
**    aggression, closed-minded dogmatism, and intolerance of
**    ambiguity, compounded by mental rigidity and decreased
**    cognitive complexity [dumbness]."
**       == Robert Weitzel, The Trouble With The Entire World Is A Guy Named Ron,
**     Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
**    And the same seems to be true of the fundamentalists
**    and true believers of any cult or religion.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Lynn ]

From: "Lynn"
Subject: Al anon
Date: Thu, February 23, 2012 8:47 am     (answered 27 February 2012)

do you have info on Al anon??


Hello Lynn,

Thanks for the question. I don't have a lot of information about Al-Anon, but I have some. What I have is mainly in two places:

  1. In the file on Twelve-Step Snake Oil, there is a discussion of the crazy idea that the 12 Steps will cure both alcohol abuse and being the "overbearing" wife of an alcoholic, here:

  2. Here is a list of standard Al-Anon put-downs of the "nasty oppressive wife" who harms those fragile alcoholics by criticizing them:
    Bill Wilson really hated his wife Lois for her screaming at him and calling him a drunken sot when he got drunk and tore up the house, and he was forever getting back at her for it (and cheating on her at every opportunity).
    (More about the cheating here:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I will realize that, even in doing nothing about my problems,
**     I am actively practicing the Al-Anon idea."
**       ==  One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, p. 143

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Nicholas_K ]

Date: Thu, February 23, 2012 4:09 pm     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "Nicholas K."

Hi there,

My name is nick, I think what you have wrote here is completely wrong! I for one is just new to the fellowship of Aa and ca and I can say that the 12 step program is the only way to stop drinking or using cocaine! I don't so suppose you would understand because you probably have no experience of any personal kind in the world of drug addiction, you have probably read boots and came up with your own conclusion! If some is a true alcoholic or addict they will find it very difficult to stop and stay stopped, you arrival has some information which is incorrect, Aa and ca do not convert people into religion, it is purely a program to gain a spiritual remedy to a spiritual problem! Again I wouldn't expect you to understand, if you want to ask any more questions feel free to email me!

Sent from my iPhone

Date: Thu, February 23, 2012 4:11 pm     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "Nicholas K."

And bill w never wrote the 12 steps they originated from a organisation called the Oxford group so please get correct information, thanks

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Nick,

Your new cult has badly misinformed you. You haven't been in it long, and already they have you repeating the standard lies and fables.

  1. The 12-Step routine is not only NOT THE ONLY WAY, it isn't even a good way. It doesn't work at all. The 12-Step routine just raises the failure rate and the bingeing rate and the death rate. Look here for doctor's tests of A.A., and how much it failed to help alcoholics:
    Results of doctors' clinical tests of A.A..

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health says that 75% of the successful quitters do it alone. The Harvard Medical School says that 80% of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, on their own. Look here for the rest of the story.

  2. You think I don't know anything about drugs? You haven't read much of my web site, have you? I was a hippie during the 'sixties and 'seventies, and lived on a hippie commune and tripped my brains out for years on almost every drug known to man. I've done LSD about 200 times, and also of course marijuana by the ton, and peyote and magic mushrooms and hashish and keif and psilocybin and mescaline and on and on... And I got infected with Hepatitis C by sharing needles while shooting heroin and cocaine. Then I got addicted to alcohol and drank too much of that until the doctor told me to quit drinking or die, choose one. And through it all I smoked cigarettes until I couldn't breathe. Then I quit all of that.

    After all of that, Steppers still claim that I don't know anything about drugs or alcohol or addiction or recovery. And I wasn't a real alcoholic or a real drug addict because I quit my bad habits without joining the 12-Step cult religion.

  3. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a "spiritual remedy to a spiritual problem". Neither is Cocaine Anonymous. They are just parts of a big cult that pushes the strange teachings of an old pro-Nazi cult religion as a quack cure for addictions.

  4. Bill Wilson did write the 12 Steps. What he did was just write down the recruiting and indoctrination practices of the Oxford Group cult religion, and change the word "sin" to "alcohol", as in, "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol", instead of the Oxford Group teaching that you are powerless over sin, and have been defeated by it. I wrote a lot about that. Start here: The Religious Roots of A.A. and the Twelve Steps

May I recommend that you find a better recovery group? Like one that won't tell you lies? One that will really tell you the whole truth? Here is the list of better organizations:

Have a good day now, and good luck with your life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     What is the difference between surrendering your Will
**     and your life to "Higher Power" in Step Three, and
**     selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety?

[The next letter from Nicholas_K is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#iamnotastatistic ]

Date: Fri, February 24, 2012 11:34 am     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: The Mathematics of A.A. Parts 1 & 2

Hi Orange,

Analysis of A.A. according to A.A. data. Part 2 shows that the long term effectiveness of A.A. is 2 — 5%.


Also, isn't it ironically unfair that a gambling addict that tries to use Gamblers Anonymous for their gambling addiction is making just as bad a bet as they would at a casino!



Size: 858 k
Type: application/pdf

Size: 1.5 M
Type: application/pdf

Hello Iamnotastatistic,

Thank you very much. Those documents are most excellent. That's some good analysis. I love the way he does it, using only official A.A. documents and numbers and sound mathematics to prove his points. How can the Steppers deny their own publications and their own statistics?

Not only does the author establish the A.A. growth (shrinkage) rate, but he establishes that A.A. has followed a classic natural S-curve growth rate. And now A.A. is at or beyond the peak, and no future growth is going to happen. A.A. in the USA is actually shrinking now, and the author points out that the British A.A. has recognized that fact.

What the author didn't mention is that the shrinkage is causing serious financial problems for the A.A. headquarters, like the fact that the Grapevine is running a financial loss now, and it's expensive for AAWS to keep suppporting it. But if they cease publishing the Grapevine, how will they keep the true believers brainwashed? If they stop propagandizing, then they will lose even more members, and then they will have worse financial problems. They are looking at a vicious circle that is a downward spiral.

And his closing line in the first file is a killer:
"Why do the mathematics of the A.A. membership increasingly resemble those of a pyramid scheme?"

Also, the bibliography lists many downloadable documents, so it's a treasure-trove of goodies. I'm going to download everything, and add it to my library.

The second file analyzes the famous "Comments on the Triennial Surveys" document. His analysis looks good. There is just one point that he left out: What is the dropout rate before the triennial surveys were done? That is, the people who are present at a meeting, available to answer a questionaire, are those people who are still coming back to meetings. The people who are counted as "In their 1st month" are only a fraction of the newcomers. What about all of the people who came to just one or two or three meetings, and were so offended or really put off by the crazy heretical religiosity and the narrow-minded simplistic slogan-slinging (and the attempts to 13th-Step the newcomer women, and things like that), that they just didn't come back again? Those people are part of the dropout rate, too, but they never got counted. So the real A.A. dropout rate is even worse than he calculated. And worse than anybody can calculate from the numbers from the triennial survey.

CORRECTION: 2012.10.17: Actually, on rereading the analysis, I see that he did recognize the fact that the Triennial Surveys fail to count the newcomers who drop out before the Survey is done. He didn't calculate it, but he mentioned it:

The percentage of the A.A. membership in their first year, published in each A.A. survey, is an instantaneous value for those in their first year of membership at the time the survey was carried out but it does not provide a total for all of those who came to A.A. over the course of a year. The value for the percentage in the first year of membership represents the members who came to A.A. in the previous 12 months and remained as members but it excludes those who came to A.A. in the previous 12 months but discontinued attending within those same 12 months. Therefore the total number of newcomers to A.A. in any year will always be greater than the instantaneous value given in the A.A. membership survey.

If we could calculate how many newcomers drop out before the Triennial Survey is done, then that would make the computed A.A. dropout rate, and the computed sobriety rates, even worse. Much worse, by a factor of 3 or more.

On page 16 of the second file, he has a chart of the percentages of members in their various years of sobriety. Not only does it show a huge dropout rate, it shows the same attrition that my chart of sobriety coins given out shows. Look here. Many Steppers have criticized that chart by claiming that counting the sobriety medallions given out isn't a "scientific" way of calculating the A.A. dropout rate or failure rate. (And it isn't.) But it appears that counting the coins is far more accurate than they wish.

The numbers are in the same ballpark.
My chart shows only 1.17% getting 10 years, his shows 2.012%.
My chart shows 0.49% getting 15 years, his shows 1.745%.
My chart shows 0.15% getting 20 years, his shows 1.552%.

Now mind you, the numbers won't be the same, because we are counting two different things. The count of coins is just that, just counting coins given out, and it shows what percentage of the newcomers make it for that long. His numbers show the results from surveys, where members write down how many years of sobriety they have (or claim to have), and those numbers show what percentage of the current membership has that many years. It's apples and oranges again. Nevertheless, the pattern is the same, and obvious. Very few make it for the long haul.
(By the way, just asking people to honestly write down how many years of sobriety they really have is not "scientific" either.)

Yes, the line about Gamblers Anonymous is both sad and funny. It reminds me of,

Last night I joined Gamblers Anonymous. They gave me two to one I don't make it.
      == Rodney Dangerfield

Date: Fri, February 24, 2012 11:44 am     (answered 27 February 2012)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: A.A. survey forms

Hi Orange,

I got these from A.A. Not sure if they're of any use to you but it does help to know exactly what questions are being asked on the surveys.




Size: 244 k
Type: application/pdf

Size: 58 k
Type: application/pdf

Oh yes, they are very much of use. Thank you. A while back, I had somebody asking for just such information. And I had never seen an actual blank survey form. Now I have.

Now I wish I could see the raw, unedited answers. Where is Wikileaks when you need them?

I noticed that the author complained about the same thing:

In fact, A.A. has never shared any of the raw data from the 140,000 surveys it possesses with either its own members or any entity outside of A.A. and it cannot give any plausible or acceptable explanation as to why it will not share this vital information. It should be remembered that membership survey forms are anonymous and do not contain any information that could be used to personally identify any member.

Email responses from A.A. regarding requests for the raw data from the membership surveys stated that the raw data "was not available for distribution" and "not available for viewing." A.A. also stated that: "There is nothing in the 'raw data' different from what is summarized in the pamphlet except that you would see responses to the same questions many thousands of times over."

If A.A. is so "spiritual", why can't they release all of the evidence, and let people see the truth for themselves?

On the 1989 questionaire, question 13b asks "What was most helpful, medical, psychological, spiritual help, or other?". The answer to that is going to be entirely subjective. Lots of people are confused about what helped them, and what actually works. Witness all of the letters that I have received where people swear that goofy cult religion practices saved their lives. (Never mind the fact that they often relapse after getting such "help".)

I would have to answer that question "Other", because what helped me most was previous relapses — both relapses with tobacco, and one with alcohol. Those were learning experiences. I had 30 years of learning about quitting and restarting tobacco, and one experience with alcohol 9 years before the last quitting. And what I learned was that the old Lizard Brain will start yammering that "Just One" will be okay, we have it under control now, and we can have just one and relax and keep it under control. And if I ever give in to temptation and have just one, that it's all over and I'm readdicted, and will smoke or drink for many more years.

That precious knowledge has kept me from relapsing for 11 years now.

But that isn't on the form. So the A.A. headquarters won't ever learn about that.

Strangely enough, they eliminated that question from the 2007 questionaire, and changed it to just "was that treatment or counseling helpful?"

Have a good day, and thanks again.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If you ask me a question I don't know, I'm not going to answer."
**       ==  Yogi Berra

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters290.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Fri, February 24, 2012 2:25 pm     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy wrote a new post What will Defeat the War on Drugs? Love, Affection, and Familiarity

Dr. Peter Ferentzy
February 24, 2012 at 9:22am

All over the world, the war on drugs hurts, incarcerates and kills people. It is an abomination.

Over the next two decades, we will overcome the war on drugs. Historically, it will be a liberatory...

To comment on this post, follow the link below:


Thanks again, Peter,

More grist for the mill.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love;
**     this is the eternal rule.
**       ==  Buddha

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