Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXLII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Dee_H ]

Date: Sun, February 10, 2013 7:51 am     (Answered 14 February 2013)
From: "Dee H."
Subject: Cash Gifting and AA

FYI, AA members tapped for a cash gifting scam.


regards, dee h.

Gifting table testimony cites severed rabbit head, questions about link to slain Madison woman

Thursday, February 7, 2013

By Susan Misur
[email protected] / Twitter:@nhrsusan

HARTFORD — A Women's Gifting Table member testified Wednesday that she found a severed rabbit head on her lawn while tables were under investigation, and believes it was left by someone associated with a murdered participant.

The witness said she told police she felt someone linked to Barbara Hamburg, a table member found dead in 2010 in her yard in Madison, was trying to send a message by leaving the animal head, adding that she spotted the person's car in her neighborhood. However, police noted that the incident, which occurred a few years ago, could have been the result of a hungry coyote or other wild animal, she acknowledged.

The woman also told jurors in a trial focusing on the gifting tables that she and fellow members of Alcoholics Anonymous were recruited to the alleged pyramid scheme, at times by their AA sponsors. The woman will only be named as Julie due to AA's firm belief in member privacy.

Julie took the stand in U.S. District Court in Hartford, where Guilford residents Jill Platt and Donna Bello are on trial for serving as alleged leaders of the gifting tables and have been charged with defrauding the Internal Revenue Service and table members. Elena Cahill, a licensed attorney who participated in a table, also testified, denying claims by other witnesses that she said tables were legal.

Participants paid what they were told was a tax-free $5,000 gift to a high-ranking group member to join a table, recruited friends, attended meetings, and could climb the ranks to receive $40,000.

Julie said her AA sponsor-turned-best-friend introduced her to tables in 2009. Platt and Hamburg discussed table strategies with Julie, who soon joined by paying her $5,000 entry fee to the friend who told her about the group.

Julie said she believed that when you give a gift to someone, it comes back to you and that she appreciated the group's oft-spoken goal of helping women.

Along the way, Julie questioned aspects of the table, including how it was legal, she said. Eventually, there were eight AA members involved in tables and Julie attempted to recruit more. What followed was "the largest conflict I've ever seen in Alcoholics Anonymous," she said. "It's a violation of a trusted relationship. I trusted people to save my life, and people trusted me to save their lives, and to take advantage of that situation was a problem."

She quit her table in early 2010, a few months after then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal launched an investigation of the exclusive clubs. She felt conflicted about requesting her $5,000 back.

"If I came off, they wanted someone else because they want eight gifts. I didn't want someone else in the situation I wanted to get out of," Julie said.

Julie eventually lost friendships with AA friends who had joined the gifting tables. Though Julie failed in bringing in new participants, she said she felt shame in trying to recruit AA members because the support group is about trust and unity. She later warned AA members about tables.

"You're on a crusade against gifting tables, aren't you?" Jonathan J. Einhorn, Platt's attorney, asked Julie.

When Einhorn noted the charitable aspects of the tables, such as clothing and food drives and a handicapped van donated to a family in need, Julie said those were "a veneer to cover up the intent to make money."

Norm Pattis, Bello's attorney, questioned if Julie had ever been accused of "histrionics" in her life and noted she has been diagnosed with mental health issues. Pattis also asked if she was frustrated about the tables because she failed to recruit members, but she said she was angry the table destroyed her relationships.

Cahill later testified she never said tables were legal or tax-free, though several other witnesses have said otherwise. "I didn't say if they were legal or illegal because I didn't understand exactly what the attorney general was upset about," said Cahill, who has also taught business law at the University of Bridgeport.

She corroborated past testimony about her attempts to speak with the attorney general's office to question the investigation, and said she proposed making the tables a nonprofit or social club because she wanted to keep the "sorority" experience going. Platt shot down the idea, she said.

Cahill made back her $5,000 when another member joined.

Pattis questioned if she was "exaggerating" to "distance" herself from tables and prevent her law license from being revoked. She denied it. He began to discuss a fraud case connected to a company she was once involved in and will finish cross-examination on the issue today.

Sally Stedman, a member who made $90,000 on three tables but has since paid it back, in addition to making $20,000 in charitable contributions while on the tables, also testified. Stedman said she had retained attorney Ed Marcus, adding that he said the tables were "neither legal nor illegal."

Hello Dee,

Thanks for the story. Yes, that "gifting club" scam is such an old racket. It's just another variation on the Ponzi scheme. Newcomers have to pay and pay all of the time, and recruit new members, to give "gifts" to the oldtimers who have worked their way up to the top of the pyramid. When someone reaches the very top of the pyramid, then it's that person's "big day", and they get all of the "gifts" from everybody else in the pyramid. Then they "graduate" from the pyramid, which opens up the position for somebody below to move up.

In theory, because the pyramid is expanding, the people at the top will get back more money than they paid into the system while they were working their way up the pyramid. So they can take the money and run, and quit the "club" after they get their "gifting day".

But, as is true of all pyramid schemes, it can only work out for everybody if it keeps expanding forever. Which is physically impossible. Even if you get everybody on Earth into the pyramid, then where do you go so that the people at the bottom can get their payoff? Mars?

Combining a "gifting table" with A.A. is really cynical. People who are new to A.A. are newly-detoxed and cloudy-headed and shaky, and here is some con artist telling them that they need to join the club and pay to give a "gift" to an oldtimer? To call that practice "corrupt" seems like too mild of a word. The words "heartless" and "exploitative" also come to mind.

The rest of it, the murder (which wasn't explained in this story), and the Mafia-like rabbits-head intimidation and all, just goes to show that A.A. is a very dangerous place. (Doesn't the rabbit's head remind you of the horse's head in the movie The Godfather?) Honestly, how could they expect anything else? Gather all of the alcoholics and addicts and ex-convicts and parolees in a room, and imagine that it suddenly becomes Heaven on Earth because they yammer some slogans and Steps from a nineteen-thirties cult religion?

And I love this little ad hominem attack: "You're on a crusade against gifting tables, aren't you?"

That's as dumb as saying, "You're on a crusade against child molesters, aren't you?"

As if "being on a crusade" invalidates the accusations and makes everything okay.

By the way, pyramid schemes are totally illegal, and the IRS definitely wants their share of any income that you get.

One of the participants tried to claim that "gifting tables" are legal because "it's all just gifts." Wrong. It's really an investment scheme, no different from a Ponzi scheme. The idea is that you pay some money into the system, and then you get two or three times as much — or more — back later. Calling the payments "gifts" is just a cover. The dead giveaway of that is the first half of this sentence:

Julie said she believed that when you give a gift to someone, it comes back to you and that she appreciated the group's oft-spoken goal of helping women.

Yes, she expected the money to come back to her. It wasn't "a gift". It was an investment. And of course the second half of the sentence is just a rationalization, claiming that it was to "help women".

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
**       ==  Henry Fielding (1707—1754)
**     Enron, A.I.G., Bernie Madoff, Merrill-Lynch, Long-Term Capital Management —
**     Thinking that you can get money for nothing
**     seems to end in getting nothing for your money.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Billy ]

Date: Sun, February 10, 2013 9:14 am     (Answered 14 February 2013)
From: "Billy P."
Subject: AA Cult-ism

Just read through most of your wonderful run-down of aa cultism... I myself went to rehab in 1999 — then as a result, became a sober recoving alcoholic and havent had a drink since... for the first 8 years or so, I went to at least one if not 2 meetings a day — I even started meetings that are still active without my presence... but as my personality struggled to come back to the surface, I found myself arguing more and more in meetings, and eventually being openly ridiculed when I stopped using AA lingo and started just speaking from my own experience... I don't go anymore, and now I run into people from AA who look overly concerned that I must be drinking, etc....

Anyway — it is a cult, and some people need cults — because their mind does not have the energy or ability to be at peace with itself and handle things without someone else abusing them into a behavior pattern.

I am really glad you wrote a well researched criticism of the AA as a cult perspective. A lot of people feel like they want to get out of AA but have this huge fear that they will drink again... which is not true much of the time.



Hello Billy,

Thanks for the letter and congratulations for your sobriety. And I'm really glad to hear that you kept your own mind and can think for yourself.

The only line I disagree with is the one about some people needing cults. I've thought about that. I have often considered the idea of having a "good cult" that would encourage people to get clean and sober, something that would harness the esprit de corps of A.A. or N.A., and give the same cameraderie and "fellowship", but without the falsehoods and lies and put-downs and harmful parts of Steppism. Alas, it seems that you can't do it. The cult framework just inherently leads to evil things. Like power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Synanon was supposed to be such a good cult, one that would get people off of drugs. For a while, it seemed to work great, but in the end, it degenerated into lies, intimidation, beatings and attempted murder of dissidents and dropouts.

Likewise, Rev. Jim Jones's People's Temple was hailed as a wonderful new rehab program that got a zillion alcoholics and addicts off of the streets of San Francisco and Oakland, and into church. But in the end, Jim Jones went crazy and they all committed suicide together.

Yes, weak-minded people need something, but I don't think it's a cult that they need.

Also, giving people misinformation about addiction and recovery actually makes recovery harder. When Dr. George Vaillant tested A.A., he found that A.A. had the highest death rate of any treatment for alcohol abuse that he studied.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what
**    they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their
**    own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the
**    very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power
**    does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed."
**        ==  Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 4:15 pm
From: "Billy P."
Subject: Re: AA Cult-ism

thanks for the reply, food for thought!

June 15, 2012, Friday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Mongrel Ducks
Mongrel Ducks


Pintail Drake
Pintail Drake

Canada Goose Family with 6 goslings
The Family of 6

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Bart_W ]

Date: Tue, February 12, 2013 5:38 pm
From: "Bart W."
Subject: From Facebook: Re: [Orange Papers] Acceptance...

Bart W. commented on Cathy S.'s post in Orange Papers.

I knew a woman who was fresh in AA, told to stop her psych meds & when attempting suicide during a meeting in the meeting bathroom, she was shunned & banned from the clubhouse by the majority of the clubhouse members. Is that a welcoming organization that teaches tolerance & love with open arms to all who want to be clean/sober?


Now that is cold, really cold.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Tom_M ]

Date: Sat, February 9, 2013 11:00 am     (Answered 16 February 2013)
From: "Tom M."

Flight starring Denzel Washington


is some pretty hardcore AA cult recruiting propaganda too. Denzel stumbles drunkenly around for most of the film, before being saved by the magic words of admitting he is an alcoholic, and spending 6 years in jail, that he could have avoided, if he had told a simple lie that affected no living person. That Wilson/Buchman snake-oil sure does do some amazing stuff!!

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to find that movie and see it.

I find the A.A.-promoting school of movie-making rather curious. I suspect that the script-writers are split between ignorance and fanatical proselytization.

That is, some writers literally don't know what they are talking about, but they heard that A.A. is a wonderful secret society that rehabilitates degenerate alcoholics by getting them admitting their faults and praying, and they think that the going-to-A.A. bit can provide a happy ending to the story.

But the other writers are A.A. members and true believers who want to "Carry The Message To The Alcoholic Who Still Suffers", so they really lay it on.

This movie sort of sounds like the latter case, doesn't it?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion"
**        ==  A.A. "Tradition" 11

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Megan_M ]

Date: Wed, February 13, 2013 11:10 am     (Answered 17 February 2013)
From: "Megan Mc"
Subject: Introduction

Hi Orange.

I've been reading through your information and it's an impressive amount of work that you've put together. I'm so curious about something, though.

You seem angry. Preoccupied with this. I can certainly understand a passion about just about any topic, but I'm wondering what you are gaining out of keeping the anger? It seems like a lot of energy.


Hello Megan,

Thanks for the letter. You know, that is such a common A.A. complaint, "You are angry." I just got another letter saying the same thing a few days ago. (Look here.)

Unfortunately, Steppers get indoctrinated with the belief that if you are angry, you are "axiomatically spiritually wrong". Not so. That is how the cult cripples you and keeps you from feeling your feelings. There is nothing wrong with being angry at crooks who hurt your friends and family.

Now there are two possible answers to your question:

  1. I gave the first answer in that previous letter: "I'm not all that angry. If you want to see angry, you should read the messages on my forum from some of the people who wasted 10 or 20 years in A.A. Now those people are really angry about how they were deceived for so long."

  2. And the second answer is, "Yes, and I have every reason to be angry at stupid parrots who keep on jabbering the same untrue nonsense, year after year, and causing sick people to die, year after year, and always refusing to learn anything."

    Crazy Steppers who imagine that they are doing the right thing tell people not to take their medications, and then the sick people die or commit suicide. Steppers repeat the same untrue dogma about alcohol abuse and recovery, and make it harder for people to recover. And then Steppers claim to have the best method for recovery.

    No, actually, they have the worst. When Dr. George E. Vaillant, who just loves A.A. (still), and who went on to become a Trustee of A.A., spent the better part of 20 years foisting A.A. on sick alcoholics and trying hard to prove that A.A. works, he discovered that no way of treating alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction produced a higher death rate than Alcoholics Anonymous. (And yet, Dr. Vaillant is still one of the biggest promoters of A.A. in the world. He continues to promote A.A. even though he proved in valid clinical tests that it doesn't work.)

    Which leads to the next big problem with A.A.: They won't learn. They refuse to learn anything new and improve their methods. They continue to push the same cult religion from 1935 as the best and only answer, and they won't change anything because they arrogantly insist that they already have a working answer — even the "best" answer.

    So more people die.

    For more reasons to be angry, you should read some of the A.A. horror stories, here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity
**     or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind (1954), 210.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Gurpreet_G ]

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 7:37 am     (Answered 17 February 2013)
From: "Gurpreet G."
Subject: Orange Papers

Hello I stumbled upon your website a few days ago and have found it to be an interesting read so far.

As you I don't believe in the need for AA/NA I have many friends who go and swear by it and they often try and make me feel as if I will relapse if I don't start to attend the meetings with him which in turn makes me not want to go even more, I have tried some meetings but I never felt at ease about this , it did feel as if everything being was pre-programmed into them, it just didn't sit right with me ever.

In my opinion I find NA and AA to be another means to widening your network of users and I have personally seen many people fall like by making new friends or getting into relationships with others, I do not believe in their belief of living in fear that you could relapse if you do not attend the meetings and work the steps, also that we are born this way, I don't think anyone is born bad people make good and bad decisions in the course of life, I refuse to believe we are all condemned for life to this misery it is all about course correction in my book, finding the right path again in your own way, whether you find it or not is entirely up to you not anyone or anything else

As many I have found my own way and I believe I am much better for it .


Kind regards
Gurpreet G.

Hello Gurpreet,

Thank you for the letter. And I'm really happy to hear that you are better.

I have to agree with all of your points. Yes, they constantly use the fear-mongering trick of telling people that they will relapse and die drunk in a gutter if they leave A.A.: "Either Work A Strong Program, or your fate will be Jails, Institutions, or Death." Yeh, that really gets old after a while. Especially when you discover that the vast majority of the sober people got sober without A.A. Like 75% or 80% of the alcoholics who successfully sober up do it alone, without A.A.

What really got to me was the constant appeals to believe. The speaker exhorted the audience to stop thinking, and just believe in "the program". Don't think, don't doubt, just do it. That was what made me realize that I was sitting in a cult meeting. I remember that final moment of truth at an N.A. meeting where I said to myself, "It might be fun to discard reason and just believe in this organization and be part of a 'happy, laughing family', but it's just a cult."

A little while back, one of my readers found this article that also complained about 12-Step rehab making people worse and giving young people access to harder drugs:

In my case, labeling myself an alcoholic paved the way for me to take on the "addict" persona, and I got much worse before I got better. After treatment, I traded in my college friends for the criminal ones I met in recovery, and in turn, I gained access to a variety of hard drugs.

That is perhaps the most disheartening aspect of 12-step recovery and inpatient care: Because most of their AA colleagues are older, the adolescents I met in treatment found more drug connections, party buddies and rehab romances than they did mentors, counselors and long-term sober friends.
== CHELSEA CARMONA | Special to The Washington Post, Published: July 16, 2012
Chelsea Carmona is the West Coast regional manager of the Op-Ed Project, which works to bring underrepresented voices into opinion writing

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast;
**   a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
**      ==  Buddha

June 15, 2012, Friday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Pintail Drakes
Pintail Drakes

Pintail Drake
Pintail Drake


Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, coming to get some munchies.
But of course. They don't come to me to get their pictures taken.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Chris ]

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 12:42 pm     (Answered 18 February 2013)
From: "Chris"
Subject: Here s my story :D

Hey there!

You ve been my "mentor" for 10 days now, i ve been searching and readin stuff in here and make my day :D. I have to congratulate for this site that makes ppl feel confortable after leavin this cult. Dude u are really awesome in this!!! I ve been in a private AA-type center for 3 months and i managed to say gtf out of my life, i can do it alone!! U ve helped me much so i can deal with my day without misery and self-harm. I m from Greece so my eng wont be good...

So, i was an internet junkie, and that made me lose the control of my life, couldnt do anything, i was miserable and felt MANY MANY times that i m cursed. I m cursed to live like that, sitting in front of my PC and playing games or listening to songs or searching for wierd stuff or porn cause the life outside wasnt made for me... I asked for help from my father and he adviced me to handle this problem through religion. It was hard for me to go to a church and confess and find a solution there. I told him than i need a psychiatrist or someone like this profession. So he found out a private program in my town and I went there. 1st month was ok. The guys there (drug addicts and alcohol addicts) were cool and the councilors were a bit of helpful. I found there a great company to restart my life and start going to my college again. I started to feel good in the mornings but the evenings where so boring and full of misery. I was also "IN DENIAL" 10x a day and "I DIDNT KNOW HOW" to deal with things cause every thought of mine was my "monkey's" thought, not a GOOD one. I was sayin Ok u should know better than me and went on. The program i was in was called open-type cause my problem wasnt so bad as drug addicts or alcohol ones. So i had my time to go home or for a coffee after 6 pm. The 1st strange thing was when my parents attended to a group for parents. My dad that is religious started his sharing about how good ppl are in this program that related God with psychology. THen he tried to tell a story of Klaus Kenneth (i recommend both of his books) and the councilor stopped him telling him that we are not here to procelytize other members to UR God, inspite the fact that she has the same God. My 1st question: Are we supposed to share WHATEVER we want in a meeting of AAs? My dad didnt tell me that time about this fact cause as he said later he found me in a good mood to make me wonder about small probs like that... After that incident both of the councilors were kinda afraid of my parents...

Second month was good too but ended bad. I was for coffee with ppl from the program when i realised our cituation. THen i ended in a convo with on of my councilors telling him that i might end this program cause i cant see any progress to me nor to otherz. -Hey, dont u see ur situation now? Do you think that u could manage to be like that on your own? You are in denial and you dont follow the program as you were supposed to. That s why. And dont even think that the progress and solution is found in one day or two. You have to work the program months with us and then on your own in a lifetime. I went to a priest after that without listening to any shit of what he told me. When i was outside the church after my confess to God i was feeling damn good. And yeah it worked. I tried no to be selfish and follow the priests orders and continue to go there for a month or so so to be cool enough to walk in my shoes alone. I went to a NAs Christmas party and it was awful, i dont recommend to any1 to go there :P. When i wrote my thougths about it I WAS WRONG again, not the party but me!!! I wasnt dancing and that was a reason that i didnt follow my treatment and make things easier for me and for them to end this torture one day earlier. ( What a wierd thingy, if u dont dance u are not treated ). Then i went to an internet cafe to play some games for 2 days and i had to tell this to them. RELAPSE!!! U just did a RELAPSE! You dont work with us, u work better with the priest, and u believe in God more than to the program ( this is my conclusion of all the wierd stuff they told me that day). You trust more the priest that us and that is harmful for u, priests dont know about addictions, and addiction is not a sin that u can confess it and let God to take it from you. YOU HAVE TO WORK THE PROGRAM AND STOP GOING TO THE PRIEST (yeah we told it 3 times and i am not insane, and i heard it!!). THat s OK i said. They tried to tell me that i was "working" my relapse a month ago with not attending to private convos with them and not working on the stuff they told me to work on. I hadnt started to write on the steps. I was writing about concequences of my addiction, the story of my life and things about anger... Damn, i wanna write a whole book to include the weird things i lived in there. Oh and by the way i was alcoholic ( i was a drunk kid many times of my past life like some peeps do in this age from 16 to 30) and i was a drug addict cause i was smokin pot. I have to say that i dont like alcohol or pot cause when i overdo it with these things i feel awful and i stopped doing that a while ago, so i dont realise myself as an AA or a NA but they did. Back to the relapse. I was also told that i was pietist. THey had a prob that i met a priest once in a while, 2 times a month, for 15 mins and he made me to trust him more than them that they had me most part of the day... It s insane!!!! Then, they started to teach me that masturbating was good in treatment period to see if i was abnormal. Sorry guys, but my secuality is a part that any psychologist can touch for myself. I m regular in sexual habbits and also i try to aboid masturbating cause i dont feel good with my relation to my God... They are christians too and they were telling me to stop being a christian till the treatment perion is ended. But this period is lifetime so.....

Next problem was the 1st step. They tried to tell me that u are not responsible for ur addiction, u are born with that and u didnt have the choice to avoid it. Oh man, pain, anger and misery on trying to tell them that I DONT HAVE A FKIN PROB WITH THAT, i can continue the steps ignoring that paragraph, considering the addiction as a conclusion of my choices etc. They insist to stopacting like a pietist and not take the weight of this cause addiction is in ur genes, u were made sick like special needs ppl. Oh man, in the 12steps that AA dont wanna know u discribe exactly my thought about this. I dont wanna believe in a God that made me sick, my God made me in free will, i can choose the good or bad taking for myself the conciquences!!! I couldnt find the exact words to tell them my point of view and my belief and after reading many articles in your site i believe that even if iwas good as u they d always tell me that i am IN DENIAL. FK them!

Last day, i was all the day long to the building where the program takes place and done with the things there and i was about to go to the priest at 5pm (one hour before the program ends for the day) like i had done many times before. The councilor got so pissed off like i had done another relapse. Cool mis, chill, i have asked for permission for that many times ago and i took the OK why are u so mad? U should work on anger pamphlet to control your anger cause this behaviour is not allowed in here :P. I went inspite of her "suggestion" ( i dont take responsibility of this thing, you must stay and stick to the program). The next day i went there and when she started to SHOUT of what i ve done to myself geting me out of the program (for an hour? damn i was a bad bad boy) i told her that i m not staying here anymore. You speak about God and when someone (me) tries to find God you "suggest" not to be so quick with that and weird things that we say this and the next day we dont suggest the same thing. I think that i was a lot of patient with ur bs. THen the last battle, that was ended that i was insane (their conclusion), i answered to their questions with honesty and there last words were that i was lost in translations of their suggestion. DAMN, I said the words they told me a day or 10 or 2 months ago. I dont have such a problem with my mind and i remember these things cause they were contrasted.

And all this by payin 1000$ a month...Yeah it was a good experience and i had to get through this cause i ve chosen a method that me and all christians should not. We got a God that can do this. We got the people and the books that give advice on how to "cure" such a "sin".

Some of weird things i ve heard from people who we were with in the program and they remain my beloved friends in spite the fact that we have different opinions about addictions:

  • 1. I thank God that born me with the "gene" of addiction cause when i followed the 12-step program i became a better man.

  • 2. If you drink a single beer or a drug u wont be my friend anymore but if u continue being an internet junkie we can be friends.

  • 3. U are going to take heroin ( i havent till now and i wont forever) cause u went to the program and u find us the heroin addicts and u ve learnt things about heroin.

  • 4. 1st convo:
    • -why u finally out of the program and u still attend some meetings of NAs outside the program?(that are free)
    • -cause if I find it good, i dont have nothing to do this time and i find it like going for a coffee with friends and strangers.
    After 2 weeks:
    • -Hey man, inspite ur difference u have with us u have to attend to some free NA s meetings.
    • -I have no time, i got tons of stuff to do rather than attending a meeting where is so much pain and misery but i ll support u when u will open a meeting next time.
    • -Hey you dont know how meetings are useful. U should go many times a week and then see how it works.
    • -Right, i dont know, i m in denial. tell me how it worked for you to see if i want it to work like that in me.
    • -It works for me...
    • -Yeah, but how?
    • -You ll see if u are attending 4-5 times a week.
    • -Nah thanks, but what does it give you? Xcept of SOMETHING AND YOU LL SEE?
    • -.... you are in denial.
    • -right, i am and i like how i am, and i m a normal man and you are two, in spite the fact that you believe the opposite.
    • -I think that i am a normal man too.
    • -But 1st step says the oposite.
    • -Yeah right, does a normal man stand in front of his pc for 24 hours?
    • -no
    • -So you werent a normal man.
    • -Yeah i wasnt, but i am now and i have the choice to become abnormal again and that doesnt have to do with genes.
    • -Oh man you have a serious prob.
    • -Yeah i have, a prob to tell you the truth cause u are heretic.
    • -Dont u see u are insane?
    • -Yeah i do. How s life?
    • -Boring....

  • 5.We should be in the same "class" as special needs people. ( darn that s really annoying)

So, that s all i have to say, my xperience... Thanks again for all the staff that made me think that i m good with myself and dont want a cult program for my addiction. I m not an AA or a NA, drugs and alcohol isnt my prob, i can live without them!!!! Keep up the good work dude and enlighten ppl with truth!

Take care, Chris.

Hello Chris,

Thanks for a great letter, and I'm glad to hear that things are getting better for you. Your story says so much. I'm adding your letter to the list of A.A. horror stories. Technically, your story isn't so much about A.A. as it is about 12-Step quackery, but: same difference. A.A. is 12-Step quackery. The crazy A.A. dogma says that doing the confession routines of an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties will cure all of your problems. That's insane. And that is so wrong that it is criminal — practicing medicine without a license.

Here in Portland, Oregon, we have a crazy church — "The Church of the Followers of Christ" — that kills a child every few years. They believe that prayer is the only proper way to heal a disease. They will not take their children to a doctor, not ever, not for anything, no matter what. So when the children get seriously ill, they die. And then the parents get prosecuted for manslaughter. It's been happening year after year. And the parents get sentenced to prison and probation, and they still refuse to learn. Faith healing just doesn't work.

But the crazy Steppers who run "rehab centers" and "recovery programs" think that it does. And they hurt a lot of people. Some of the patients die.

First off, you are not in denial. You began your letter by describing your problem with being obsessed with the Internet and video games. You aren't in denial. Being in denial is like, "I'm not an alcoholic. I'm not drinking so much that I have to quit drinking. You people are just exaggerating how much I drink. It isn't a problem. I don't have a problem." Refuse to see the problem, and refuse to fix it.

You obviously do not have the problem of being in denial. You began your letter by describing your problem. Then you sought help and treatment for it.

In general, I find that when I was being obsessive about something, it was because I was trying to avoid dealing with or feeling some other pain. It might be the pain of how tobacco or alcohol was slowly killing me, or anxiety about what was happening in my life, or bad old memories of child abuse... It was some kind of pain in the here and now that I didn't want to deal with, so I tried to avoid it by concentrating (obsessively) on something else.

You might want to look at that.

The thing about them objecting to you seeing your priest is so revealing. They really want to own you and convert you to their beliefs, and they can't stand one bit of competion from a priest of a different religion.

Yes, it's a crime to charge people $1000 per month for quack medicine and abuse.

About your last point, "we should be in the same class as special-needs people", I have to laugh. That is such self-indulgent narcissistic nonsense. But some A.A. people do that. What comes to mind is the scene in the South Park satire of A.A. where a long line of sick and crippled people were waiting in line for their turn to get miraculously healed by a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary. (Please watch that. You'll get a lot of laughs out of it.) Stan's father, Randy, was in the line to get healed of "alcoholism". When one of Randy's friends learned that he was an alcoholic, he said, "Oh you poor thing!" and pushed Randy's wheelchair to the front of the line, past the dying cancer patients and cripples and the blind, saying, "Make way, make way. Alcoholic coming through."

Have a good day now. And a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When you kill from a distance, Is anybody to blame?
**     And the armies of war will never be the same.
**     After the Dolphin.
**     == Crosby, Stills, & Nash, After the Dolphin
**     If a corporation pushes quack medicine on sick people, is anybody to blame?

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Randall_C ]

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 7:23 am     (Answered 18 February 2013)
From: "Randall C."
Subject: Thank You

Hello, I would like to thank you for your website and the information. What you have written is amazingly insightful and I am very grateful that you have shared your thoughts and findings with the world.

I have been addicted to alcohol and drugs in the past and have healed myself without intervention. Recently a family member went into an inpatient 12 step program and I began to research its principles. What I found was a belief system that insulted my intelligence, my religion, and science. I was unable to articulate my thoughts about this program and you have beautifully done this for me.

You are brilliant. I respect and appreciate your logic and communication skills more than I could say in an email. If you have any other websites, about any topic at all, please send me the links. I would like to hear about anything else that you have to say or find interest in.

Thanks again for all the time you out into your analysis of 12 step programs. Thanks for putting into words what my heart and mind could not.

Best Wishes, Randall

Hello Randall,

Thank you for the letter and all of the thanks and compliments. That is so flattering that I'd better watch my ego or I'll get a fat head.

I don't have any other web sites, per se. (I'm going to eventually start up one about photography, and I'm thinking about a "rip off" web site and forum where people can complain about how corporations have treated them.) I do have a group on Facebook called simply "Orange Papers". And, something that confuses even me, I am also "Orange Papers" on Facebook. (I'm always trying to figure out which one I'm looking at now.)

I'm actually trying to move away from Facebook. I was just about to cancel my Facebook account when a nice woman started the Orange Papers group for me, and it immediately attracted a bunch of members, so now I'm sort of stuck with Facebook for a while.

I'd recommend the Orange Papers forum instead:

I don't Tweet, because Twitter will steal the copyright of anything and everything that I post. (Did you know that when a woman posted a cell phone picture of Capt. Sullenberger landing his plane in the Hudson that Twitter took the picture and sold it to news agencies without giving her the money?)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot
**     change their minds cannot change anything.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Jim_B ]

Date: Fri, February 15, 2013 2:44 pm     (Answered 18 February 2013)
From: "Jim B."
Subject: Re: [SMARTCAL] As regards AA — a publication — not to be seen as an attack

Terry, think the above is the piece and it appears it's 2008, so this may be one that I remember you've already covered.


From: Jim Branscome
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 3:34 PM
To: Orange
Subject: Fw: [SMARTCAL] As regards AA — a publication — not to be seen as an attack

Hi Terry, just saw this pop up on the Smart Listserve and thought you probably have the background and knowledge to mine it if it isn't something you've already done. There is no link/date to the material that Doc. S. is referring to, but I did find Henry's email address: [email protected].

Good to read on the OP that your health is well.


From: Doc Steinberger
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 3:13 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: [SMARTCAL] As regards AA — a publication — not to be seen as an attack

I found this and thought I'd share it in the hope that more information from a reputable journal would be interesting. Not as an attack — if it works for someone, that's great.

In Press in International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

12-Step Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Revisited: Best Available Evidence Suggests Lack of Effectiveness or Harm

The essence of that paper is: The previous so-called "studies" that declared that A.A. worked great, and much better than CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) at a Veteran's Administration center were flawed, fraudulent, and (dare I say it?) downright faked. And guess who did that faked V.A. study? The notorious Humphreys-Moos team of professional A.A. propagandists.

[Long quote from this letter snipped out.]

The corrected outcome results (likely 0 to 15 percent remission for substance abuse) support the conclusion that the type of realistic community 12-Step based intervention described is at best ineffective and likely less beneficial than no treatment.

As applied to practice, these results appear to obligate professionals in the helping fields, on the principle of nonmaleficence, at the least to avoid referring clients to 12-Step-based treatment programs. Under the principle of informed consent, professionals appear obligated to inform prospective clients that empirically based research suggests that 12-Step based treatment for abuse of alcohol or other substances is at best ineffective.


Henry Steinberger, Ph.D., APA-CPP (Substance Use Disorders)

SMARTCAL is the SMART Facilitators and Advisors List and is open to all SMART volunteers.

This e-mail list is powered by LSoft's Listserv mailing list management software. For more information, please visit http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Hello Jim,

Thanks for the reminder of something great. Yes, I posted that article before. Happily, I have both the preliminary version and the final version, here:

That article is a real bomb-shell, because it methodically dismantles and refutes the faked "studies" that purported to show that 12-Step treatment works just as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. And the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction isn't just any old supermarket tabloid. (And I have to laugh when it occurs to me that it isn't "council-approved literature" either.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For every good reason that there is to lie,
**     There is a better reason to tell the truth.
**       ==  Bo Bennett

June 15, 2012, Friday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Eagles Nest
Eagles' Nest
Those eagles have chosen their nest site well. That tree has so many forks and branches that the nest is supported on every side. The tree has an unusual 5-way fork that provides a very secure pocket for a nest.

Everybody is watching the nest for any signs of babies, but nobody has seen anything yet.

June 16, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Dabbler's Marsh
Dabbler's Marsh Pondscape

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 4, getting lunch

Canada Goose goslings
The Older Family of 4, getting something to eat

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html#Ray_S ]

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 9:00 pm     (Answered 18 January 2013)
From: Facebook: "Ray S."
Subject: [Orange Papers] Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?

Ray Smith posted in Orange Papers

Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?

AA and NA may keep you clean and sober by keeping you scared.


Hi Ray,

Yes, I imagine that the fear may keep some people from drinking, sometimes, for a while. Alas, manipulating people with fear is ugly and counter-productive.

I think that the fear will eventually wear off, and then the people have nothing better to fall back on. When people lose their fear and start thinking, "Well, maybe I could handle just one...", it's the kiss of death. Without the fear, what do they have?

I think it's much better to give people more facts and a solid foundation, so that they can rationally respond to such thoughts with counter-thoughts like,

"Maybe you could handle just one, and it might be okay, but if it's okay, then that will be very encouraging, and that will soon lead to just another one, which might also be okay. And if that's okay, then that will lead to just another one, which might also be okay at first, but eventually it will lead back to more and more okay drinking until the situation ends up back where you were when you quit in the first place. Remember why you quit in the first place? It's just plain easier if you don't go there."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Alive and Happy
**     We cannot enjoy life if we spend our time and energy worrying
**     about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow.
**     If we're afraid all the time, we miss out on the wonderful fact
**     that we're alive and can be happy right now.
**        ==  Thich Nhat Hanh, 'Free From Fear'
**            Daily Dharma December 26, 2012
**            http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/free-fear

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Last updated 16 July 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters342.html