Letters, We Get Mail, CCXCVII

[The previous letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Subject: Re: 12 steps for sane 'lunatics'
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Date: Thu, March 22, 2012 2:40 am     (answered 24 March 2012)

Dear Orange,

Thanks for your reply.
Just a couple of points.
Notice that in my steps the HP is not aa, it is just other people. The way I do it, the other people are mostly in aa, true — but I see a psychiatrist and a counsellor when I feel like it too. And certain trusted friends outside aa.

Also within aa it is only a very small number of people who I think are wise and who I trust.

Hello again, Hetu-Ahin,

So "just other people" are your "Higher Power"? That is an odd theology. And it is also fraught with danger. How do you know which people have divine knowledge and wisdom? How do you know which ones to trust with your life, your mind, and your soul? A nutcase with a dozen years of sobriety is still a nutcase. Or, as the Sufis said so beautifully, "A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey."

Your take on Ed's story glosses over the difference between two kinds of 'right beliefs'. For the Bill W fundamentalist crowd, the right beliefs involve this supernatural HP, usually God. But Ed is allowed to believe in totally naturalistic, human powers and nothing else. That is a pretty big difference! So things really have changed in aa over the years.

Nice talking with you.



"Ed" didn't exactly make a distinction between a nice "naturalistic" Higher Power, and a fundamentalist "God" in the story that you pointed me to in
What "Ed" supposedly wrote was:

I admit that I need more strength than I alone possess to overcome the compulsion to drink. I receive this strength from the power for good generated in A.A. I have interpreted the frequent mention of "God" in the Twelve Steps and elsewhere as power that comes from other people.
A.A. brings out impulses for good, and this has tremendous force. In my opinion, this sum total of good actions is the "higher power."

That is just an intellectually dishonest word game, trying to make the word "G.O.D." equal a "Group Of Drunks" so that all of the jabber about "God" will be palatable to an atheist. And that is nonsense. That semantic tap-dancing does not change what the 12 Steps actually say. The 12 Steps describe a meddling, dictatorial, micro-managing, wish-granting God Who will manage someone's life, and restore him to sanity, and take care of his will and his life for him, and remove his defects of character and moral shortcomings, and remove his desire to drink alcohol (but only after he confesses everything), and talk to him in a séance and tell him what to do and give him the power to carry out the orders, and then give him a "spiritual experience" or a "spiritual awakening". Can you explain how a vague "power" that comes from other people is going to do that? Not gonna happen. The Twelve Steps cannot possibly work without there being such a meddling God pulling puppet strings, delivering miracles on demand, changing reality to suit the A.A. members.

Such pseudo-atheistic A.A. apologists remind me of characters like Karl Marx, who declared that he was an atheist, and yet he postulated the existence of a mysterious ghostly "Force of History", which he could not explain at all. Marx's "Force of History" was much like the Fates that the Greeks believed in two thousand years earlier. The Greeks thought that some spirits called Fates just made things destined to happen, and if it was your fate to die in battle, or to die from a plague, you were doomed. Karl Marx could not explain where his "Force of History" came from, or how it works, but he still believed that his "Force of History" caused huge sweeping currents in human history, and that it would push the whole world towards Communism and the Workers' Paradise. That is not atheism, that is muddle-minded mysticism and superstition masquerading as atheism.

The rest of it, the self-pitying rap about how he doesn't have the power to overcome his compulsion to drink, is the standard A.A. "powerless over alcohol" church dogma. It isn't true at all, but makes a great excuse for drinking.

Furthermore, A.A. does not "bring out impulses for good", not unless you count everything from sexual exploitation to cult religion as "good". The assertion that A.A. "spirituality" somehow makes people behave better is a grandiose claim that is just so much self-congratulatory bull. Show me the evidence. What poll, study, or survey established that Alcoholics Anonymous improves peoples' behavior? What Dr. Brandsma found is that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests, and Dr. Walsh found that A.A. increased the cost of hospitalizations, and Dr. Vaillant found that A.A. increased the death rate of alcoholics. That isn't "impulses for good".

And then of course, there are the sexually abusive subcults like the Midtown Group and Clancy's Pacific Group. They are so far from "impulses for good" that it isn't funny.

There is no such "God = natural people power" statement in the story of Ed in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 143 to 145, either. What Bill Wilson wrote was that Ed flipped out while he was sick and in a fever, and he had some kind of a vision or hallucination that he wouldn't talk about, but now he was willing to read the Bible and believe in God. Problem solved.

One A.A. member wrote to me and said that the name "Ed" is false, a pseudonym, and that the story in 12X12 is really just Bill Wilson's stylized, sanitized, version of the story of Jim Burwell, the resident atheist of A.A. whose story The Vicious Cycle is on pages 238 to 250 of the third edition of the Big Book, and on pages 219 to 231 of the fourth edition. That A.A. member said that it is a well-known fact in oldtimers' circles that Ed and Jim Burwell are the same person, and that Jim Burwell always remained an atheist or agnostic, and that Bill Wilson just wrote in 12X12 the religious conversion story that he wished had happened. So now, it seems that the A.A. headquarters is manufacturing propaganda that repeats the fake story of Ed the atheist.

Both Ed and Jim suffered from loneliness. Read their stories again, and notice the frequent references to loneliness and wanting to join the group.

For a period of over two years, I was practically a Loner, being able to attend only a couple of meetings a year. Fortunately, my wife has a good understanding of alcoholism (because of past association with a family group), and I was able to have almost daily discussions with her. Now, however, we have formed an A.A. group in this area that meets in my home weekly.

And in the Big Book, Jim Burwell wrote about his own beliefs in a self-deprecating manner like, "Well, yeh, I used to believe some silly atheistic things, but then I learned better." What Jim Burwell wrote in his Big Book story about his beliefs and his loneliness was:

That night was the first time in my life I really let down my hair and admitted my general loneliness.
My loneliness was worse than it had ever been before, for now even my own kind had turned against me. This time it really hurt, more than any hangover ever had. My brilliant agnosticism vanished, and I saw for the first time that those who really believed, or at least honestly tried to find a Power greater than themselves, were much more composed and contented than I had ever been, and they seemed to have a degree of happiness which I had never known.
For a long time the only Higher Power I could concede was the power of the group, but this was far more than I had ever recognized before, and it was at least a beginning. It was also an ending, for never since June 16th, 1938, have I had to walk alone.
      Around this time our big A.A. book was being written and it all became much simpler; we had a definite formula wich some sixty of us agreed was the middle course for all alcoholics who wanted sobriety, and that formula has not changed one iota down through the years. I don't think the boys were convinced of my personality change, for they fought shy of including my story in the book, so my only contribution to their literary efforts was my firm conviction, being still a theological rebel, that the word God should be qualified with the phrase "as we understood him" — for that was the only way I could accept spirituality.
Then I got a very good position in Philadelphia and quickly found I would need a few fellow alcoholics around me if I was to stay sober. Thus I found myself in the middle of a brand new group. When I started to tell the boys how we did it in New York and all about the spiritual part of the program, I found that they would not believe me unless I was practicing what I preached. Then I found that as I gave in to this spiritual or personality change I was getting a little more serenity. In telling newcomers how to change their lives and attitudes, all of a sudden I found I was doing a little changing myself.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Jim Burwell, The Vicious Cycle, pages 239 to 249.

Yes, that brainwashing program is powerful and works well, doesn't it? It even works on you while you are using it on others...

There is nothing in there to indicate that Jim Burwell worshipped a "naturalistic" Higher Power that was other people. Jim wrote that he started off considering the A.A. group his "Higher Power" — "it was at least a beginning" — but he did not say where he ended up.

Jim Burwell was just lonely and desperate for companionship and group acceptance. Jim actually asserted that A.A. was a high point of his life because "never since June 16th, 1938, have I had to walk alone." (What about Mrs. Burwell? Didn't his wife count for anything?) Jim Burwell seems to have had a neurotic fear of being alone. In both stories, Ed or Jim started up A.A. in a new area so that he would have an A.A. meeting to attend.

Again, we see that Bill Wilson would not put Jim Burwell's story in the first edition of the Big Book. Bill didn't publish Jim's story until Jim had nice things to say about "Higher Power" and Bill's "faith". Jim's ridiculous statement that the people who believe in "Higher Power" are more composed and contented and happy really stroked Bill's ego, didn't it? That isn't atheism, that's boot-licking. But I guess that's what Jim Burwell had to write to get Bill Wilson to put Jim's story in the second edition of the Big Book.

Also see https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters274.html#Richard_B for a history of agnostic A.A. There is much more about Jim Burwell there. That history indicates that Jim Burwell was just lonely and wanted to join Bill's sobriety club, in spite of their radical religious beliefs. Notice that this history of agnostic A.A. was written by the Toronto Agnostic A.A. group. Then they got banned by the area A.A. organization. So much for religious freedom in A.A.

I am reminded of a remark by Ray S. just a few letters back:

I've had people swear up and down that the people in THEIR homegroup would welcome me as an atheist with open arms. I got tired of proving them wrong.

What this brings up is the whole bait-and-switch game that A.A. plays when recruiting people who don't want to become true believers or religious fanatics:

  1. First, A.A. tells you that "A.A. requires no beliefs," but then you have to believe everything they tell you, and have blind faith in the proclamations of Bill Wilson.

  2. First, prospective new members are offered a tolerant, open-minded "spiritual" program, but then they get narrow-minded demands for belief in Bill Wilson's teachings.

  3. Flip-flop: Literal versus vague interpretation

  4. Shifting objectives: First the goal is to quit drinking, and then the goal is to "acquire faith" and "come to believe" in Bill Wilson's religion.

  5. First, A.A. is just a nice neighborhood quit-drinking self-help group, and then it's a hard-core religion.

  6. First, it's only a "spiritual" alcoholism recovery program, and then it's a fundamentalist religion whose 'real purpose' is to make you 'serve God'.

  7. First, you can keep your own religion, and then you can't.

  8. First, A.A. is completely compatible with Christianity, then it isn't.

  9. First it's "Surrender to God" and then it's "surrender to some A.A. members".

  10. First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God. You are 'confused' and 'prejudiced'."

  11. First, declarations of Religious Freedom, and then demands for Religious Conformity.

  12. First, a loosely-defined "Higher Power", and then an explicitly-defined "God".

  13. Redefine God. First you get one God, then you get a different God.

Also see the file A.A. and Religious Faith for more of Bill Wilson's demands that all atheists and agnostics start believing Bill's way.

And see Recruiting Mind Games, where Bill Wilson even criticized other religions, and claimed that their convictions were not working because their faith did not keep people from drinking alcohol.

Finally, the A.A. headquarters is just publishing falsified stories, like the story of "Ed", to fool the public into thinking that A.A. is a liberal, free-thinking organization, which it is not. That file "Do You Think You're Different" is just propaganda intended to fool the unwary and get people to join the cult.

This isn't the first faked A.A. testimonial story, either. Read "Join The Tribe" in the third edition of the Big Book for a really outrageous fake story. There, they had Tonto jabbering about
"I proud to be Tall Man, American Indian, and member of A.A. for many moons."
"Never forgot magic in firewater."
"Tall Man now see Great Spirit in Big Group in sky."
Check it out here and here.

We really don't know how many of the stories in the Big Book and documents like "Do You Think You're Different" are fabrications, and there is no easy way to find out, because everything is conveniently "anonymous".

And you know, the bottom line here is that A.A. is still just pushing the practices of an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties as a quack cure for alcohol addiction, and lying about it. Claiming that God is the cure, but you don't have to believe in God, is pretty nutty.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic,
**        and a dyslexic?
**     A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.

[The next letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Andrew_S ]

Date: Wed, March 21, 2012 1:09 am     (answered 14 November 2011)
From: "Andrew S."
Subject: Re: AA's Problems

In defending the stalwart AA's views on his/her experience in AA, I wrote:

1) The addict has experiential data that you are not privy too. You are relying on conclusions drawn from data other people collected and conjecture and assumptions about the addict's life. The addict is relying on a wealth of subjective insight into their own life. It is condescending and intellectually dishonest to say that you are an authority on their life without even meeting them.

You wrote:

What you call "experiential data" is nothing other than the old propaganda trick of testimonials. The snake oil salesman gets some people to tell stories of how the wonderful snake oil healed whatever ailed them, and nobody ever gives a testimonial that says that the snake oil didn't work. So the saleman is also cherry-picking, and using proof by anecdote.

Your argument (as usual) is lengthy and confused. The experiential data of person A in regard to person A is not a testimonial. The testimonial would be person B or person A discussing person's A's experience with person C in order to to convince person C that AA works. I am talking about person A's particular experience in relationship to their particular history and response to AA.

That isn't a testimonial, that's person A's medical history as long as its used to prescribe treatment for person A only.

Hello again, Andrew,

Of course it's a testimonial. Alcoholics Anonymous does not present us with medical data, they give us testimonials. The entire back two-thirds of the Big Book is testimonials, all of which follow the standard cookie-cutter formula of: "I drank too much and my life was hell, and then I joined wonderful A.A. and now I am so happy." That is a testimonial.

For instance, a person can be a responder to Restasis to cure dry-eye (*What Makes Someone A Non-Responder?

A look at typical non-responders to drug therapy and the factors that have made them that way. Abelson. Review of Opthamology. 9/9/2011.) *About fifteen percent of patients respond to this treatment. Eighty-five percent of patients don't.

If person A (a responder) looks at his experience with this therapy, it has diagnostic relevance in regard to predicting a good therapy for dry-eye for person A. Why? Because its an aspect of his medical history that has predictive power in regard to his future response to Restasis.

The problem is when person A (or his eye doctor) prescribes Restasis as a general therapy.

If he tries to persuade one of the 85% it's a good therapy, then he is offering a testimonial to Restasis's efficacy for the general population. That testimonial is flawed, of course, especially if he is unaware that the majority of the population are non-responders.

I believe that current studies regarding AA (and other addiction therapies) are not sufficiently nuanced regarding the issue of responders and non-responders. I believe that AA is a therapy that some people with a particular personality type respond to, but that the vast majority of contemporary patients are non-responders.

You are assuming that there are A.A. "responders" and "non-responders". There is no evidence that A.A. makes anybody actually quit drinking. You are assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists.

There is clinical evidence that Restasis works on some people's eyes. You can give them the medicine, and see their eyes produce more tears. (They had to present that evidence to the FDA to get Restasis approved.) There is no valid clinical evidence that A.A. works on some people. Quite the opposite. Give A.A. to alcoholics, and you can watch them binge drink more and die more.

The evidence is that 5% of the alcoholics will quit drinking each year, all on their own, to save their own lives and reduce their suffering, and that A.A. will steal the credit for anybody who ventures inside an A.A. meeting room even just a few times and then quits drinking. Actually, A.A. will also steal the credit for people who quit drinking before they ever went to A.A.

My guess is that the personality would be one something like Bill W.'s: proselytizing, narcissistic, mixed-up feelings of resentment, oppositional defiance, need to be needed, etc. To some extent Bill W. was a product of his time; it's the same old power of positive thinking that Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie prescribed for every evil under the sun. The main problem with it is that is dated wish-fulfillment that flies in the face of common sense and the modern understanding of life.

Again, you are trying to assume that some "personalities" respond well to Buchmanism. I have never seen one study that shows that Buchmanism cures Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Have you? It sure didn't work on Bill Wilson.

To some, followers of Dale Carnegie are sociopaths; they learn to fake sincerity so they can influence others to their political whim. To some extent, that is a moral and social judgment as well as a psychological judgment.

Yes, you might call some of those people "manipulative". Even "scheming and phony".

I also believe that AA was more effective earlier in history when it acted as a more liberal and forgiving dogma of addiction than the mores of the time. Now, however, our standard views regarding addiction have become more humane and nuanced than AA. Thus, AA declines in efficacy over time.

There is no evidence that A.A. was more effective earlier in history. The evidence is that Bill Wilson just lied and exaggerated his success rate to get people to join the cult and give him money.

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

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

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

You believe AA=BAD. In general, as a simple principle, I admit, that is correct. However, I think reality is more nuanced than that. AA is a vast concatenation of human experience over decades throughout the world concerning the baffling and perplexing paradox of addiction.

What a load of baloney. You might as well brag about the "vast concatenation of human experience over decades throughout the world concerning Scientology." Would that prove Tom Cruise right? Would that really prove that Scientology works to make you "clear" and immortal?

And addiction is not a "baffling and perplexing paradox". That is just one more high-falutin' A.A. slogan. Doctors understand addiction pretty well. Heck, I understand addiction pretty well.

So, when the AA stalwart writes "AA fulfills me and keeps me sane in an insane world" he is being truthful.

No. When a junkie says, "Heroin fulfills me and keeps me sane in an insane world", do you believe him? Why not? After all, he has what you call "experiential data that you are not privy to."

Then, if you respond by objecting to the harm that heroin addiction causes, and saying that the junkie should not continue a heroin habit, no matter how good it makes him feel, because of the harm done to him and others, I'll refer you to the harm that Alcoholics Anonymous causes. Start here. Sick people should not continue an Alcoholics Anonymous addiction, no matter how good it makes them feel.

When you write "That's anecdotal evidence and can't be used to prescribe AA" you are being truthful as well. The AA stalwart is being truthful to the extent that he is describing his history of mental health, as soon as he prescribes AA to the general public, he is prescribing to non-responders.

No, the A.A. stalwart does not necessarily have any understanding of what is going on. Few cult members can accurately describe how they got deceived into believing the nonsense of the cult, and what is wrong with their thinking now. If they had that much clarity, they would quit the cult.

My advice to someone who thinks that they have a drinking problem is to work down a list of meta-data regarding therapy efficacies. Start at the top with Motivational Interviewing and CBT, give them a sincere shot. If they don't work, move down the list. If nothing works, you'll slowly pass from acupuncture, homeopathy and AA into Scientology and trepanning. The higher the efficacy rate for the general population, the more likely you are to respond to the therapy *ceteris paribus*. Of course, you can always go into spontaneous remission as well.

Again, your jabber about "what works" is repeating an A.A. fallacy: that "programs" "work". There is no program or treatment that works to make addicts quit their addictions. What works is people really deciding to quit, and then getting a grip and quitting their bad habits and changing their lifestyle. It is not a matter of joining the right group or working the right program, or getting the right treatment, and having it "work" and make you quit drinking.

Also, there's nothing wrong with calling coping with Down's syndrome "an existential dilemma". My view of life is that coping with any limitation is an existential dilemma, and that everyone feels limited in their lives at one point or another. It's just as insulting to developmentally disabled people to think that they never feel pain, resentment or anger due to their shortcomings. They feel the same range of human emotions that we all do and their lives are often difficult and frustrating. It's tragic in the same sense that all our lives are tragic: we are born, then we die and there are no certain answers to anything.

A woman correspondent already answered your remarks about Down's Syndrome, here:

On that happy note: Cheers,


Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a
**     new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
**     William G. Wilson, The Big Book, page 100.
**     "Yes, Higher Power Dracula, I surrender myself to you, to do with me
**     what Thou wilt, and I promise to go bite at least three newcomers
**     and turn them into our unholy kind."

[The next letter from Andrew_S is here.]

May 27, 2009, Wednesday:

Canada Geese browsing The Family of 9, browsing

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 9, browsing

Canada Goose family
The Family of 9, browsing

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Chris_S ]

Date: Fri, March 23, 2012 6:35 pm     (answered 30 March 2012)
From: "Chris S."
Subject: CHRIS S. — Bill Wilson, YOU need to consider David/Solomon and others too.

I look at all the hours/days you spent on your epilogue of Bill Wilson and his '13th stepping etc'.... what a shame to not be introspective.... 8-)


No one can excuse such behavior, of Bills or anyone else's concerning using another human being for money, sex etc.....but in 2012 it's clear to me, that woman thankfully hold a higher standing in our society than yesterday........

Biblically, which I am a scholar, a Father loved to have a daughter too, cause if he brings her up 'right', he gets a good payback at a ripe age of 13 yrs old....... come on quit seeking perfection as you seem to do...

Spend time ripping into our great KINGS of old.... David,,, and his son Solomon....... it sickens me that you, for whatever reason, feel the need to blister the lineage of Bill Wilson on his imperfections that never seemed to be overcome..... but forget, he was used by 'something' (I truly believe it was God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to communicate a way of life, a process that would help addicts of many sorts, we know it's grown past alcohol to obesity, drugs, sex etc......he was so LOW in life, and that lowness made him OPEN to God's Prodding, I do humbly believe....

As God gave David & Solomon Mercy, through His Grace......... do you feel so needed to focus on Bill's 'defects' and not his contribution to Humanity, as a Sinner and Not a Saint, that HE could hear God's prodding because of his awful 'being'......?

Oxford Group failed, the Washitonians too, and they were so GOD focused...but lusted after Power, you and I know the history (WWII)..... but I've learned God works through his creation, which is foremost sinful and not perfect.....

Who reaches out to the strippers and prostitutes these days????? Former strippers & Prostitutes, and if you think that after their 'calling' they never relapse or struggle greatly...... you need to do some homework...... but it aint you or I, it's 'sinful people' sharing what they've found to be true...... something to lift them above 'themselves' into a 'being' of recovery...and a process to help other sinners.... it aint just Praying-to-Jesus-Christ...it takes human action....

I do hope you'd consider your 'intent' on this particular subject of Bill..... Frankly I don't want his sobriety, yearning for a drink of whiskey on deaths-bed, I'll take Bob's in a heartbeat........ but Bill sought out Bob, and together with 60 others they produced a 'human-tainted' manual, not a perfect bible, but a solution that has proven worthy...........

Your thoughts?

Chris S.

"Saints have a history, and us Sinners have a future"...

Hello again, Chris,

That's some of the more ridiculous and desperate rationalization and minimization and denial that I've heard in a while.

Just because some illiterate barbarians abused women in the Old Testament does not make it okay for Bill Wilson to do it in 1936, and 1946, and 1956. Nor does it make it okay for A.A. groups to be doing it now.

Stories in the Old Testament also accepted the practice of slavery, and having several wives, and even mass murder and genocide. Moses wrote that it was okay to rob, rape, and murder non-Jews. Moses also wrote that you must practice genocide against anybody who invites people to a non-Jewish church. Kill everybody, and burn their town to the ground. Obviously, that is not permitted today. (We sure would lose a lot of fundamentalist Christians that way, wouldn't we?)

This line is absurd:

I look at all the hours/days you spent on your epilogue of Bill Wilson and his '13th stepping etc'.... what a shame to not be introspective.... 8-)
Introspective? What? Am I supposed to meditate and look within, and discover that sexual exploitation of sick women who are seeking help is really okay after all?

This line is deluded wishful thinking:

...he was used by 'something' (I truly believe it was God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to communicate a way of life, a process that would help addicts of many sorts, we know it's grown past alcohol to obesity, drugs, sex etc....

Bill Wilson was not used by God to communicate a wonderful way of life. Remember that the A.A. "way of life" is just a rehashed version of Dr. Frank Buchman's Nazi way of life. It is not a gift from God. It might be a gift from Satan, but certainly not from God.

You want to talk about Jesus? Good. Go read the Sermon on the Mount. You will find that it has nothing to do with practicing an old fascist cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

You might also notice that Jesus instructed people to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and help the poor. Alcoholics Anonymous refuses to do any of that. A.A. never does charitable work. A.A. never runs a free kitchen to feed the street people, or a free store to give them clothes. A.A. does not even do that for the prostitutes that you mentioned.

Lastly, "the solution" has not "proven worthy". All that A.A. does is make matters worse, raising the rate of binge drinking, and the rate of rearrests, and the death rate. The practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's old fascist cult religion are not a solution to alcohol addiction, or drug addiction, or sex addiction, or anything else. Look here for the doctors' reports.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I found Jesus! He was hiding underneath a huge pile of Big Books
**     and 12X12's and "As Bill Sees It".
**     (Well, he says he is Jesus. And he has the most beautiful
**     horns and cloven hooves, and a neat pointy tail.)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Christie_W ]

Date: Wed, March 28, 2012 12:50 am     (answered 30 March 2012)
From: "Christie W."
Subject: The Orange papers


Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful on-line resource. I have been attending A.A. as part of court ordered treatment. The longer I attended, the more I began to question my own sanity. I was getting to the point where I was thinking: Could I truly make an educated decision about anything in my life without a God / Higher Power in control, after all, I was not supposed to be in control of my life anymore. Only the Higher Power was. To add insult to injury — not only was I to consider myself a brainless dope, incapable of handling my own life as a responsible adult, I was expected to believe that I was truly nothing more than a childish, guilt ridden, sin-laden loser who was doomed to an alcoholic death. What utter hogwash.

Your articles proved my suspicions correct and I am much relieved to find I have every sane reason to get out of this mind control cult and follow my own good sense.

Thank you again!


P.S. I don't drink because *I* don't want to. End of story.

Hello Christie,

Thank you for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you managed to maintain your sanity.

Every judge who sentences someone to A.A. meetings is committing a crime against sanity.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Oh Great All-Powerful Winnie-the-Pooh,
**     There's no Higher Power quite like you.
**     Upon my knees I humbly pray
**     that you keep me sober just for today.
**     And now the whole wide world can see,
**     that I've been restored to sanity!
**     Amen.
**        ==  John

[The previous letter from Laine_S is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Laine_S ]

Date: Thu, March 22, 2012 4:00 pm     (answered 30 March 2012)
From: "Laine S."
Subject: RE: Meeting w/Sponsor

Mr. Orange,

Thanks so much for this. I actually did attend a Smart Recovery meeting last Saturday and it was very good — and different. I will definitely check out your link and list of options. I'm very glad they're out there.

Another mind-spinning contradiction that I thought of last night was when I did step 4 (inventory) and 5 (sharing it), a lot of my resentment had to do with one of my older sisters and my dad. The issues are really deep and ongoing since I was a kid. Mind you however, it wasn't these issues that got me drinking too much. I was depressed a lot due to work, etc. Anyway, when I did step 5 I was horribly depressed the entire weekend because it brought up really bad stuff for me. But my sponsor now says that AA can't help me with this and that I should see a therapist. So why then did I bother to explore my resentments? It seriously is crazy-making.

Laine S.

Hello again, Laine,

I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Yes, you bring up a very good question there. A.A. sponsors are not qualified therapists or counselors. Nor are they licensed to do psychotherapy. So why do they put people through the 12-Step routine and claim that it heals people?

If the 12 Steps did work as psychotherapy or counseling, then A.A. sponsors would be breaking the law, and practicing medicine without a license. But since the Steps do not work, the sponsors are merely guilty of fraud.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.

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

Canada Goose browsing
The Family of 9, browsing

Canada Goose family
The Family of 9, browsing

Canada Goose gosling
The Family of 9, browsing

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Date: Sat, March 24, 2012 4:13 am     (answered 31 March 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: AA Bill W and conversion cult

Dear Orange,

What is AA's attitude to atheists? Your wrote:

And A.A. actually has the gall to say that it isn't a fanatical religion, just a nice, friendly, easy-going quit-drinking program.

Some reflections from an atheist in AA:

I concur that there is a line in the Big Book, certainly in We Agnostics, which goes: the main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself. This Power would be God. And this seems to have been Bill W's own line of thought, at least some of the time. Of course he also thought that finding God was the route to sobriety, so he was trying to help people get sober as wqell as converting them.

But now what is the relation of that line and the entity AA?

AA has no brain. It is a fellowship of men and women. The fellowship is held together by the traditions, by the desire of everyone who is a member to be a member. The members are members of groups, there are intergroups and there is a GSO. The intergroups and GSO serve to allow a flow of information among the membership. Sometimes GSO publishes documents. These documents reflect aspects of the flow of information — something roughly analogous to the thoughts of the strange entity that is AA. AA is something like a colony of ants. A colony has no brain, no government. It does have an internal information flow. The 'Who Me' document has the stories of an atheist and an agnostic. These members find sobriety without finding God. Their higher powers are natural. This piece of information is part of the flow, and it has become concrete in the document. Thus a 'thought' within AA now differs from the the thoughts of Bill W. AA now 'thinks' that the atheists can find recovery without religious conversion. If it thinks anything at all, then that is one of its thoughts.

AA is, as far as I now, a completely unique kind of entity in the world. It is not an organization of a familiar form. It is not a kind of outpatient rehab spread around the world. Nor is it a cult: no leaders. It is something like a democratic anarcho syndicalist collective. The democracy is very pure, entirely bottom-up. This actually works: if there were corrupt power-hungry people at intergroup and GSO levels then it could all turn bad. But nothing remotely like this is the case. GSO does almost nothing. Our elected members really are just servants who do not govern. That is how they actually behavce in real life.

The experience of an indivual member it varies hugely depending on where you are. There was this Clancy business. So perhaps there was a cult within AA. There is supposed to be a cult in England — you told me about this. I can report that when I went to one of the allegedly cult meetings, it was entrirely non-cult. But that was just the one meeting. The cult may exist.

Some groups are dominated by AA fundamentalists. There they will try to convert you. Others are atheist/agnostic. Many are eclectic, with the members living and letting live, sharing their experiences, strenght and hope.

We Agnostics and the story of Ed are just parts of our foundational literature. Bill W was just one of the founders along with Jim Burwell and the other nonbelievers who got 'as we understood God' into the Big Book. These people are now dead.

AA the entity lives on. It is not Bill W. And its current thought has abandoned the conversion line of We Agnostics. Not all the individual members have abandoned it. But AA has.

Have a good day,

Hello Hetu-Ahin,

Thank you for a classic textbook example of minimization and denial. You are using the standard A.A. denial argument, "Oh that isn't the real A.A. Not all groups do it."

Baloney. It's all really A.A.

And of course you go on and on with the usual "We have lots of groups and offices and they are all different. Nobody is in charge." Not unless the A.A. headquarters wants to sue foreign A.A. members for publishing their own inexpensive translations of the old out-of-copyright first edition Big Book. Then somebody suddenly sure is in charge.

Obviously, there already are "corrupt power-hungry people at intergroup and GSO levels". Check out what Greg Muth did to A.A.W.S. and G.S.O. "spirituality". And look at how Greg Muth's lawyer friend Thomas Jasper got $469,850 for a going-away present. That money was illegally extracted from poor alcoholics in foreign countries.

As you recognized, going to just one meeting is not enough to see the true nature of Clancy's Clones. Did you read the stories from other people who went to his meetings?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Alcoholics Anonymous is in denial about its not being a religion."
**       ==  Jack Trimpey, The Small Book

[The previous letter from John_McC is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters297.html#John_McC ]

Date: Fri, March 23, 2012 1:17 pm     (answered 31 March 2012)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Fw: Matrix Curriculum BIAS towards 12-Step philosophy


Are you familiar with any of the research citations attached in the "response"?

Size: 19 k
Type: application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

Date: Tue, March 27, 2012 11:08 am     (answered 31 March 2012)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Gag me with the "research"

Hi Orange,

Attached to this e-mail are a couple of "abstracts" of some allegedly "research articles" done that appears to be "pro-12-Step group". I am e-mailing them to you so that you may post them, or obtain and review the actual articles yourself, and make the appropriate insightful ridicule into said "research"! ;)

Hope you find it of use!


Size: 15 M
Type: image/tiff
Size: 15 M
Type: image/tiff

Hello again John,

Thanks for the information. Oh yes, does it have a familiar ring to it. I've discussed that Humphries-Moos study before. It supposedly showed that 12-Step treatment was better than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It was a rigged, fraudent test. The International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction totally discredited that faked Humphries-Moos study for many failings like bad mathematics in calculating the A.A. success rate, no control group, mixed teachings (teaching 12-Step superstitions in CBT courses), cherry picking, self-reporting, unrealistic environments, and no actual valid follow-up. See: orange-letters247.html#Clark_M. It's quite an article.

Moos and Humphries have been running their racket for many years. They use the facilities of Stanford University and the Palo Alto Veterans' Administration center to promote Alcoholics Anonymous as a quack cure for alcoholism. I've examined their propaganda before:

  1. The Humphreys-Moos faked studies at the Palo Alto Veteran's Center
  2. more Moos
  3. and more Moos

In the second part of the file, 12-step_research_support.docx, there is another Humphreys-Moos article: Encouraging Posttreatment Self-Help Group Involvement to Reduce Demand for Continuing Care Services: Two-Year Clinical and Utilization Outcomes, by Keith Humphreys and Rudolf H. Moos. In that paper, they declare:

Accumulating evidence indicates that addiction and psychiatric treatment programs that actively promote self-help group involvement can reduce their patients' health care costs in the first year after treatment, but such initially impressive effects may wane over time.

Actually, no. What is accumulating is the faked studies by Moos and Humphreys.

They admitted that the minimal positive effects of their version of "treatment" — shoving patients into "self-help groups" — fade out over time, so they postulated that really insistently encouraging the patients to go to more meetings for years will produce good results. Then what did they do? They used the same faked test results that the International Journal criticized — the fraudulent study that supposedly compared 12-Step indoctrination to CBT for two years. Then they tried to claim that 12-step treatment got a 49.5% success rate, while CBT got only 37.0%. But we already know that they faked the test, so the results are meaningless.

The paper by Donovan, et. al, is self-described as "a review of the available literature." That means that they read the deceptive propaganda that was manufactured by characters like Moos and Humphries, and then they concluded that 12-Step treatment works great.

By that brain-damaged logic, a "review of the literature" from the Middle Ages will prove that the world really is flat after all, and Columbus was wrong. And the Church was correct when they burned those girls as witches and astronomers as heretics. Well, that is what the literature says.

You can discard the Donovan paper without further consideration.

— Although I just can't help but notice that Donovan and co-authors used the old "is associated with" trick. A.A. propaganda is so loaded with that term. (Look here.) They declared,

"Evidence derived from work with alcohol- and cocaine-dependent individuals indicates that involvement in 12-Step self-help groups, both attending meetings and engaging in 12-Step activities, is associated with reduced substance use and improved outcomes."

Never mind how that "evidence" was derived from "the literature", the "is associated with" trick is an attempt to create belief in a cause-and-effect relationship where none has been established. It's just like how going to church makes girls get pregnant. Well it does, by their logic: Take a bunch of virginal 8-year-old girls, and send them to Baptist churches for 12 or 16 years, and darned if most of them don't get pregnant. Thus, we can conclude that "Prolonged church attendance was associated with increased rates of pregnancy." I mean, none of those 8-year old girls was pregnant. Not one. But after 16 years of church, most of them had gotten pregnant. So the conclusion is obvious: church meetings make girls get pregnant. And 12-Step meetings make addicts get clean and sober, the same way.

The Laudet study that is reported in the first file, 12-step_research_support.docx, is also invalid. They describe their study as "quasi-experimental". What a cute phrase for "not a valid experiment". They had no control group — that is, no untreated group against which to compare the treated group, to see how much 12-Step meetings improved sobriety — or didn't improve sobriety, as the case may be. Also, the subjects were not randomly selected, so it was nothing like a valid randomized longitudinal controlled study. Then Laudet declared,

"On-site 12-step enhanced 12-step attendance, especially during treatment, and predicted continuous abstinence for the post-treatment year."

What is the point of encouraging 12-Step meeting attendance? They declared that on-site 12-Step meetings "predicted continuous abstinence for the post-treatment year" without any control group or test that could establish what effect meeting attendance actually produced. They merely assumed the result that they desired.

The phrase "predicted continuous abstinence" is another buzz-word like "was associated with abstinence". Twelve-Step meetings do not "predict" abstinence. What do they imagine? Like the "on-site 12-step" gets out a crystal ball and a Ouija board, and predicts who will get sober? Fat chance. Of course I understand what the authors are trying to say, but obviously they cannot even write coherent English. Their broken writing style reflects their broken thinking style.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

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Last updated 24 January 2014.
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