Letters, We Get Mail, XXXVIII

Date: Sun, February 19, 2006
From: John M.
Subject: Quantity of Information

I wish there was a way to get a "small" synopsis of your excellent web-site into a small pamphlet I could share with my DUI program clients who are, unforturnately FORCED to attend "self-help" (i.e. 12-Steps!) group meetings as part of their program. You have a LOT of excellent, and throughly researched information. I just wish it could be "capsuled" for better distribution.

John M., Certified DUI Counselor
Riverside, CA

Hi John,

That's a good suggestion. I'll have to think about that and work on it. In the mean time, the closest things are pages like:

  1. The 12 Biggest Secrets of A.A.
  2. The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A.
  3. What's Not Good About A.A.?

But still, obviously, they are all far larger than a pamphlet.

Pamphlets, another thing to do.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** 'Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
** routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
** or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
** between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
** treatment for medical diseases.'

Date: Mon, February 20, 2006 14:57
From: "Rick M."
Subject: AA


Hi Rick,

Thanks for the letter.

Although I have been a member of AA for almost 8 months, I will provide a few of my own observations. I average 9 meetings a week and have rarely seen a new face. I doubt if criminal charges for driving under the influence has been suspended. After all, there are 14 bars within 4 miles of my home and they all seem to have a booming business. There must be more alcoholics out there unless they have truly found a better way or is there something wrong with AA? Most likely.

I am not tying to engage in a debate in theological philosophy but would like to render my views of AA and the Twelve Steps (to Nirvana?). They seem to be rooted in traditions of the early Catholic Church — The confessionals.

Actually, confession is a very common cult practice. Even the Chinese Communist Party used it in their brainwashing programs. It's very good for inducing feelings of guilt and self-doubt, and weakening people and making them more obedient and compliant.

Speaking as a fundamental Christian, Jesus Christ never taught or expected step work — except walking. The gurus of local AA groups demand strict adherence to the steps — No religious beliefs allowed. Whatever happened to "suggested" and "guidelines".

My minister became quite distressed when he read that I am not allowed to believe in God until the Third Step, that I had to write down my sins (shortcomings, etc.) and confess before another person. According to fundamental Christian beliefs — prayer is strictly personal, private and confidential business between God and me — No Third person.

He became severely upset when prayer and meditation did not appear until the Eleventh Step and then finally, in the Twelfth Step, I am allowed to volunteer my time, money and effort to appropriate causes.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous the Anti-Christ? Maybe AA should thoroughly research the meaning of First Century Christianity, the origin and subsequent actions of the official Church of Rome and other facts of the time related to early Christians.

My ramblings do have a lot to be desired but for a program that prides itself in simplicity, there are implied complications and pitfalls.

Take care

R. M.

Thanks for the letter Rick. I was especially interested to hear the reaction of your minister. I have wondered for a long time now how the clergy could be so silent about people being sentenced to Alcoholics Anonymous, given the basically heretical theology. I know the ministers would protest if people were being sentenced to the Catholic Church or Jewish Temple.

Oh, by the way, if your minister was upset by those items, then he really should read the file on The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Humans always do the most intelligent thing after every
** stupid alternative has failed. --- R. Buckminster Fuller

Date: Tue, February 21, 2006 17:03
From: "DENISEA J."
Subject: What welcome relief !

Dear O,

I can't thank you enough. Your web site has saved my sanity. The internet has saved my sanity. I am (was) a member of AA for 21 years. I have been struggling so long to leave and have managed to do so for a number of years. There is so much to report and I am so tired. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you have done. I knew AA was a cult and that I was brainwashed. You are the first person I have come across to address the issue. Thank you so much. I will write again when I can.

Hi Denisea,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your escape.

I'll look forwards to hearing from you again.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, February 21, 2006 21:30
From: "Kim M."
Subject: new book on teen help

Hi Agent,

Hope you're well. I absolutely love reading the mail you get and your responses. You'd think people would actually read your site before going on the attack, but then again.... look at what influence they're under.

Maia Szalavitz has just released an amazing book called Help At Any Cost on the ever increasing phenomenon of the Troubled Teen Industry. The book details the history and outcomes of four different organizations...Straight (where I was), WWASPS (the largest and most prolific of the organizations today), North Star Wilderness (where Aaron Bacon died a slow, agonizing death from a perforated ulcer) and finally KIDS of North Jersey a/k/a KIDS of Bergen County (Miller Newton of Straight's last hurrah and the program that finally brought about his demise). Maia is an incredible researcher and tells the story in a way that connects all those dots I've been trying to all these years. It also makes it easy for the layperson to navigate their way through the maze of shell corporations, shuffling of staff accused of abuse to other facilities ala the Catholic Church w/ abusive priests, off shore facilities and outright corruption and covering up of serious abuses, even many deaths. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in the treatment of our youth today. As has been evidenced lately here in Florida by the death of Martin Anderson at the Bay County Sheriff's Boot Camp (see connections to Sembler and the DFAF f/k/a Straight, Inc.) the way we seem to view our teens as inherently flawed and dangerous people and what we see as appropriate 'treatment' for that is indeed sickening.

As always I'm constantly referring people to your site. Many kids coming out of these places feel so helpless. They've connected with each other through various websites
and that's wonderful but they're also hungry for answers as to precisely what was done to them, how and why. That's when I send them over here. You're work is a wealth of information for them.


Hi Kim,

Nice to hear from you again, and thanks for all of the compliments.

I'm glad to hear that Maia's book is out. I knew that she'd been working on it for a year or two. I really like her writing style, and she strikes me as being intelligent and knowledgeable. Above all, she tells the truth, which is a bit of a rare commodity in this so-called "recovery community".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it
** — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an
** attribute of a 'have' type of self. It says: leave me
** alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities.
** The desire for power is basically an attribute of a 'have
** not' type of self." == Eric Hoffer

Date: Wed, February 22, 2006 1:29
From: "michael g."
Subject: The ending of thought

Hi Orange

*The past is all our accumulated memories. These memories act in the present and create our hopes and fears of the future. These hopes and fears are the psychological future; without them there is no future. So the present is the action of the past, and the mind is this movement of the past. The past acting in the present creates what we call the future. The response of the past is involuntary, it is not summoned or invited, it is upon us before we know it.*
* *
*QUESTION: How are we going to be free from the past?*
* *
*ANSWER: To be aware of this movement without choice — because choice again is more of this same movement of the past — is to observe the past in action: such observation is not a movement of the past. To observe without the image of thought is action in which the past has ended. To observe the tree without thought is action without the past. The state of seeing is more important than what is seen.*
* *
*[Jiddu Krishnamurti]*
* *
* *

Hi Micky,

Thanks for the thought. I'm going to have to think about that one for a while.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can
** erase our good deeds." — Siddhartha Buddha

Date: Wed, February 22, 2006 16:24
From: "Greg"
Subject: Re: Thank you

Hey orange:

I have to write to say thank you. I don't know if you saved my life or not, but you came along when I needed you most.

I have been sober and clean for 25+ yrs. I had it made or I should say we had it made till my wife decided to get a sponsor. Life went to shit in a handbag. Youngest son out the door, took the oldest ones keys away because it was no longer his house. I was next because I said no to some of this. Then the dog and lastly the cat.

This all took place in the course of three months. I went back to aa simply because I had nowhere else to go and I had always given it credit for saving my life.I thought I had found a whole group of new friends.

I spent a ton of time on my knees praying for understanding in this whole deal.

I know now there are levels of the misinformed within the program, and some them are sicker than the sickest. I also know today that I am not powerless over anything. One huge regret is that when my oldest son came to me prior to Christmas last year and said its like she is in a cult dad. Out of the mouths of babes, huh. I told him that its just that group over there, we over here don't do it that way. BULLSHIT!

As I said I prayed a ton and after the divorce I was at work one day and reading stuff on aa. How your site came up I will never know (oh but I really do) because I was on aa's website. At any rate I started to read and read and read, the answers came like a flood. As I look back on it now I see how caught up in it I was. I sat on this for a day or two, you see I sponsor a young man that had about a year in and I didn't know how I was going to tell him. I told him the truth. We have both survived to date. Rather nicely I might add. Freedom from bondage is a wonderful place to be. Pun intended.

Oh yeah, those really close friends we both had, well they no longer come around, seein's we don't go to meetings anymore.

Orange, my prayers are with you every day, because I owe you at least that. The answers I got from this deal have made my life better. I think anyone who questions it and says they have a true belief in God only need to get on their knees and ask. That uneasy, quesy, icky feeling about two inches behind your belly button could be the answer your looking for.

Thanks again Orange.

PLP Greg

Wow, Greg, thanks for all of the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling liberated.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Cast off the shackles of this modern oppression and
** take back what is rightfully yours, because as William
** Shakespeare never wrote, 'Life is but a bullring, and
** we are but matadors trying to dodge all the horns.'"
** —  Matthew Clayfield

Date: Thu, February 23, 2006 15:15
From: "charley what"
Subject: Governed Addictions

/Here's some crap I believe that I wrote back in 1984 when I lived in Wash. D.C./
/That's where I'm from originally. What Ya think or am preaching to the Quire?/
*/_Governed Addictions_/*

Alcohol caffeine nicotine.
Strong addictions with no real warning.
A consistent tax the governments can spend.
Because real additions never end.
The money they make in five years, is a precise number that it clear.
There's nothing saying how hard to quit.
There's nothing saying how you'll die from it.
There's nothing saying where the money goes.
A military budget I think you should know.
With a cigarette and a beer in each hand.
Your killing people in foreign lands and you don't need to join the Army and who cares about Your health.

/_Charley C What,,,, What do You see ????_/

Hi Charley,

Thanks for the note.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette.
** Puff, puff, puff yourself to death.
** Tell St. Peter at the Gate
** That I hate to make him wait
** But I gotta have another cigarette.

From: "Angela S."
Subject: support letter
Date: Thu, February 23, 2006 18:24

Hi, I just recently came across your site, and plan to read it all, havent covered it all, but Im comming to believe /half measures do not fail me nothing, for Im learning so much from your postings. I have been in and out of the program for a year and a half, currently will pick up a 6 month chip in less than a week, the longest Ive ever gone "sober". I appreciate the program, I "work" a program (steps, have sponsor, fellowship, ect.), and have met some good friends through fellowship. Im sure you often get letters like this, but your website has opened my eyes so much to the "cult" aspect of A.A. "The Program" has helped me change my attitudes, in an AA setting.

I totally agree with what your site says about AA promoting feeling guilty for being guilty, and to feel guilty about having feelings, and how it all turns into anger. Outside of an AA setting (meetings, fellowship, ect.) such as on my job, where I used to give 110%, was very charismatic and outgoing person (even when hungover!), I'm now angry and bitter at everything or everybody. Since going back to AA, I have gone into debt, since my sponsor (who I no longer have as a sponsor) demanded that she tell me what to do with my finances, since they were so "unmanageable". I followed direction, for fear of losing my sponsor and not working my program right. I have been taught, also, that "I am not a victim", that when someone says something or does something to me that Im supposed to /look at my part/. Even in the instance that I was raped, I had to look at /my part/.

I have learned good things from the program, but I heavily warn newcomers to watch out for the "know it all" people. Its even part of the AA program, in the literature it states "human reliance will fail us", and to rely on half of the nuts that come to the tables for guidance, and to let them tell you that something in your life such as your finances, romances, ect are "unmanageable", and if you dont believe them then "your not working a program", its best to go with your gut feeling or better judgement — a mistake I failed to heed.

I now have a sponsor who I attend church service with occasionally, and out of my own free will because I enjoy it, not by direction. I work the steps with her, and she has done service work for me (she gave me a couple rides while my car was in the shop), and doesnt try to cram a guilt/shame trip on myself, or try to force me to believe anything. Shes just one of the members who likes to help out another alcoholic and see someone better their life. She also has 30 something years without a drink.

So anyhow, I just thought I'd share my "cult" experience (the short of the long of it!) with you. As a member of AA, I do agree with you on the "cult" subject. There are just some people who take it too far, and push people into situations by using fear and judgement. I believe it has a good part in why AA isnt as successfull as it /could/ be. AA should be supplemental to life, not detrimental.

Just trying to better my life,

Hi Angela,

Thanks for the letter. I also hope you find happiness. Keep at it, and never give up.

And in the mean time, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** People whose own lives are not worth living desire
** the power to control other people's lives.

Date: Fri, February 24, 2006 17:20
From: Tammy B.
Subject: Don't stop exposing them

Agent Orange,

I just want to say thank you for your site. I knew I could not be the only one who saw there was something seriously wrong with this group and their ideology and methods. I myself am not a user of anything, but I saw AA's effect on a couple of people I knew well. They became weird, totally different persons. One especially couldn't speak without spouting AA slogans and mottos.

Now this cult has my 15yr old in its grip. He smoked pot, got into trouble and was sent to an AA residential program by the court. Having seen what this group does, I am beside myself and want him out. Their techniques amount to nothing more than sadistic mind control.

If you have any suggestions for legal leverage, please send me a link. My son and I used to be close, but he is now well into the indoctrination process, and since I do not accept it, they discourage him from speaking to me. AA is destroying my family.

Please keep up with exposing their lies. Sooner or later, the knowledge will spread and someday, an enlightened society will look back and wonder how on earth such an organization ever became so powerful and pervasive.

Tammy B.

Hi Tammy,

Thanks for all of the compliments. Sorry to hear about your troubles.

That question about legal aid is a tough one. Let me get back to you on that.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Mon, February 27, 2006 23:47
From: "durden"
Subject: the last stop, not the first

hey orange,

I enjoy your probing of AA, I think any institution that can't take a little poking at is bonk. It's my understanding however that AA does not claim to be the ONLY solution for the drinking problem, but rather, the LAST one.

Hi Durden,

Thanks for the letter.

Yes, A.A. claims to be the last house on the street. But it isn't. When we do a reality check and look at the facts, we see that A.A. has a huge drop-out rate — greater than 95% in the first year, greater than 98% by 10 years. Very, very few alcoholics actually achieve and maintain sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. And yet slightly over 50% of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking. The Harvard Medical School reported that.

So the real last solution is "Either quit drinking by your own efforts, using your own will power, determination, and intelligence, or die. Choose one."

That's the choice that my doctor gave me, and it worked. I now have over 5 years of sobriety.

Perhaps you do not have first hand experience with the heart break of a HOPELESS alcoholic, and I hope that you don't. But if you should, perhaps you may see for yourself the difference between heavy drinkers and alcoholics of the HOPELESS variety.

The "hopeless alcoholic" term is a word game. It's the "Real Scotsman Fallacy". Any alcoholic who is killing himself with alcohol is in very bad shape, and about half of them will eventually die from drink. Now whether any individual alcoholic is "hopeless" is guesswork. Flip a coin. Will this one die or get his act together?

As far as my experience goes, my doctor called me a "late-stage" alcoholic, and said that it was very close to the end. He said that the death rate for late-stage alcoholics was the same as for cancer — fifty percent. Is that "hopeless" enough for you?

When a person has failed at EVERY OTHER attempt, they usually end up back in a meeting with a big book in thier hand, and AA is reserved for these desperately lost causes and HOPELESS cases. No one else need apply, and dare I say they are not saught.

That is just more word games. And it is totally untrue. After several failed attempts to break the bad habit of drinking too much alcohol, half of the alcoholics just quit. And the Harvard Medical School reported that 80% of the successful quitters did it alone, without any "treatment" or "support group". They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and change their behavior.

The only requirement for membership may be the desire to stop drinking, but that does not mean that AA is the right place for each person with that desire. For those for whom it is, they seem to find their way there... even if over the course of years or decades spent in pursuit and research of other methods. For if any of these other methods has actually worked, they would not find themselves back in the rooms of AA (or hospitals, or jails).

That is bad logic. That is like saying that if you tried to ride a bicycle and fell down, that your methods are invalid and you must go join a bike-riding cult to learn how to do it right.

The whole rap about "the course of years or decades spent in pursuit and research of other methods" is a gross distortion of reality, and simply not true. Alcoholics spend lots of years drinking and having fun, not years investigating ways to quit drinking. They drink until they get so sick that they crash and burn and end up in the hospital or detox center, where an A.A. cult recruiter starts delivering the same rap as you are parrotting here.

Now I'm sure that you have many people who will say that they tried to quit several times and never succeeded before Alcoholics Anonymous. But that is actually a pretty meaningless statement. Just because somebody says, while suffering from a morning hangover, that he wants to quit drinking, doesn't mean that he really wants to quit drinking. And when he goes back to drinking the next day, it doesn't mean that he is powerless over alcohol. It just means that he is unclear on his real intentions. He desires to drink, but wishes that it wasn't so painful the morning after.

I think the best thing about your site is that it shows that AA if diluted by casual drinkers, or those with a less than HOPELESS CONDITION may be temped to use AA for other self serving means. This can lead to a rise in the general populaton of the group, but it dilutes the message and it's effectiveness. What's worse is that it leads to supporting the egocentric dogmatism that your site reports. This is not AA, but rather self will run riot under the guise of recovery. None the less, some are sicker than others, and all are embraced if they should so choose to participate.

Excuse me, but that whole "real A.A." or "pure A.A." or "back to the basics" rap is a lie and a hoax. There never was an honest pure spiritual Alcoholics Anonymous. There was never an A.A. golden age. A.A. was always a deceptive cult religion headed by a lying thieving philandering founder named Bill Wilson.

And A.A. has always practiced coercive recruiting to get more unwilling victims into the rooms. Heck, even Bill Wilson's sponsor into the Oxford Group, Ebby Thacher, was coerced into the O.G. as an alternative to six months in jail for habitual drunkenness. Rowland Hazard promised Judge Graves that he would take Ebby to New York City and give him "the religious cure". When Bill Wilson stole "The Alcoholic Squadron" of the Oxford Group, he just continued the usual coercive recruiting practices. So to complain that "the real A.A." is being diluted by the court-ordered victims and other unsuitable people is both inaccurate and disingenuous.

Lastly, the court-ordered people do not "dilute the effectiveness" of Alcoholics Anonymous. There is no effectiveness and there never was any. Bill Wilson said so, loud and clear (when he wasn't lying about the A.A. success rate):

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.

All that Alcoholics Anonymous has ever done is recruit some of the people who are going to quit drinking anyway, and then fool them into believing that they quit drinking *because of* Alcoholics Anonymous:

As a matter of fact, the successful worker [A.A. recruiter] differs from the unsuccessful one only in being lucky about his prospects. He simply hits cases who are ready and able to stop at once.
Bill Wilson, quoted in 'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, page 252.

The truth is however, that any AA who is actually practicing the program as outlined in our book could have no objection to your musings, as your writings address misguided interpetations, but not the program itself. Over zealous and misinformed people probably populate any group. We are all human after all.

That is a bunch of bull. You are just trying to minimize and deny the obvious faults of Alcoholics Anonymous.

"The Program" as A.A. believers like to call it, is a collection of cult practices that Bill Wilson took from the Oxford Group. "The Program" is worse than useless. "The Program" is inherently evil and harmful.

I most assuredly object to the program that is "outlined" in the Big Book. You could start with the web pages about chapters 4 and 7, the "We Agnostics" religious bigotry, and the deceptive recruiting manual.

Bill Wilson's treatment of women in the "To Wives" and "The Family Afterwards" chapters is pretty bad, too.

And the 12 Steps themselves — the core of the A.A. program — are just Frank Buchman's cult practices for brainwashing new recruits. There is nothing good or spiritual about them.

There is no wonderful perfect program that Bill Wilson got straight from God, which has merely been misinterpreted by some newcomers. That is just another standard A.A. attempt to explain away the inexcusable behavior of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the obvious flaws of "The Program".

I hope that any AA's that read your site do not engage in any controversy but rather use it as a beacon of how or what not to do. I am never surpised when someone suffers a relapse, we count days in AA, and we try to add up some good ones from a previous state of HOPELESSNESS. Not all problem drinkers are HOPELESS, not all need AA, but for those for whom all else has failed, all we offer is the a DAILY REPREIVE, from a HOPELESS condition. We do not promise any sustained recovery without the daily practice of spiritual principles and group support. We really do, do it, one day at a time. It is the paradox of long term sobriety.

It will be hard for good A.A. members to not practice the evil instructions that Bill Wilson put in the Big Book, like deceptive recruiting and bait-and-switch recruiting and religious bigotry.

If a good A.A. member rejects the Big Book and Bill Wilson, what is there left for him to practice?

That any of these people are able to rebuild damaged lives is a miracle in itself, but as your site states correctly, only for those for whom all else has been lost and have become as willing as only the dying can be, to transform their lives through the use of time proven spiritual tools. C. G. Jung can probably be credited with more of AA's core philosophy than Bill W., Bill just took the credit.... google the coorespondance between the men.

Sorry, but none of that is true. I never said that only the hopeless, lost, people can recover. That is standard Bill Wilson propaganda, not anything that I wrote.

I have been saying all along that all kinds of people can and do recover. People quit drinking at all stages of addiction, and some people recover by just tapering off into moderate controlled drinking, rather than by total abstinence. It depends on the individual, what the answer is.

And there are no "time-proven spiritual tools" in Alcoholics Anonymous, just disproven cult practices. You are just trying to claim that A.A. has some special magic answer. That's an example of the standard cult characteristics of Sacred Science and We Have The Panacea.

It is good when people quit drinking and rebuild their lives, but it is not a miracle. A miracle is when someone uses supernatural powers to break the laws of physics and change the world in impossible ways. Changing water into wine is a miracle. Healing the blind and lame with just a touch is a miracle. Raising somebody from the dead is a miracle. Quitting drinking is merely a very good thing.

Carl Jung had no input whatsoever into the theology or practices of Alcoholics Anonymous. None whatsoever. That whole Rowland Hazard and Carl Jung story was just another one of Bill Wilson's lies, a tall tale that he spread around to hide the fact that the real source of A.A. ideas, practices, and theology was Frank Buchman's fascistic Oxford Group cult.

I agree that Bill Wilson stole the credit for everything. Absolutely everything about A.A. that is any good came from earlier temperance unions and sobriety movements.

Speaking of Bill W., one of the things I love about AA, is that he was not a saint — and I personally know of no one who thinks he was. He was a broken down, failed, drunk, raving lunatic... flawed to the core, and that's why we love him. As one broken down HOPLESS alcoholic to another, we understand with an intimacy that no one else can. We can relate to tragedy as comedy and match calamity with serenity.

You are engaging in stereotypical minimization and denial. You love a heartless abusive exploitative criminal because he was such a heartless abusive exploitative criminal? What kind of a warped value system is that?

You are also trying to pull a switcheroo there: You suddenly jump from rationalizing your worship of Bill Wilson to bragging about some special unique understanding and intimacy that other people don't have. I agree that it takes one to know one — that ex-drinkers and ex-addicts have a greater understanding of what it feels like to be addicted and sick and down and out. But A.A. has no monopoly on such understanding. A.A. members have no greater empathy or ability to relate to alcoholics than do any other non-A.A. recovered alcoholics or ex-addicts. The practice of Wilsonism does not give ex-drinkers any special powers or abilities that ordinary people do not have. That is an example of the cult characteristic The cult and its members are special.

I am always in favor that people should truly, truly find and accept for themselves if they are an alcoholic of the HOPELESS variety, or if there is an easier softer treatment to which they may alternately benefit. Niether the problem drinker, nor AA as a group benefit from anyone who could recover via other means.

Again, word games. "The HOPELESS variety". The only truly hopeless alcoholics are the ones who are already dead.

And you are again trying to claim that the A.A. members are somehow special, different from the "non-hopeless" alcoholics. You are also trying to imply that the problem with A.A. is just that the wrong kind of alcoholics come to the A.A meetings. That isn't true at all. The problem is with old Alcoholics Anonymous, not with the newcomers. (That attempt to blame the newcomers for A.A.'s problems is an example of "Off-loading Blame", something that Bill Wilson was very good at.)

And even that rap about "an easier softer treatment" displays the arrogance and condescension of Alcoholics Anonymous. As if the "rigorous honesty" of Alcoholics Anonymous ("Fake It 'Till You Make It", "Act As If") is harder, more manly, more gutsy, more spiritual, than other methods that are not cult-religion-based.

I for one am not alarmed by scientific advances, or alternative treatments for alcoholism. When I became truly HOPLESS, when all else had failed, when all hope was gone, there was AA... Like all who ultimately choose to walk a spiritual path (or attempt to do so), I think I'd rather be happy than "right" for the rest of my days.

That is just more of those word games. If you want to walk a spiritual path, learn to speak only the truth. Do not parrot the teachings of a fraud.

The line about 'I'd rather be happy than "right" for the rest of my days' is just another thought-stopping cultish slogan. Are you trying to imply that it is okay to be wrong, and not tell the truth, if it makes you happy? That isn't very spiritual; that's just selfish.

I'd rather be both right and happy, and I believe that is possible.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "AA is 'the last house on the block' for a reason:
** it's full of arsonists who've been burning down
** the other houses!" — Madame Senga

Date: Tue, February 28, 2006 5:13
From: "Ilene & Alan R."
Subject: Some assistance...

*Been searching for an article that would have appeared in one of the major news magazines, Newsweek, Time or perhaps U.S. News.*
*I believe the title of or beginning of the article went something like this: "The dirty little secret AA doesn't want you to know — alcoholics can drink".*
*If you could point me to it I'd be most appreciative.*
*alan r.*
*Converse, TX*

Hi Alan,

I don't know of the specific article that you are talking about, and you didn't give a time frame. It may be listed in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. I will have to check. That sounds interesting. Unfortunately, the computerized indices do not go back very far, so for anything before around 1990, with most publications you still have to do a manual search.

It is quite possible that the article you seek came out in response to this blockbuster report from the Rand Corporation in 1976:
Alcoholism and Treatment, Rand Corporation Report R-1739-NIAAA by Dr. J. Michael Polich, Dr. David J. Armor, Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.
Prepared for the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, June 1976.
Also published by John Wiley & Sons, 1978.
LC: AS36.R3 R-1739

In that study, the doctors found that half of all recovered alcoholics — that is, alcoholics who stopped self-destructive drinking — did it by tapering off into moderate controlled drinking. The other half did it by total abstinence.

The A.A. true believers exploded and screamed that such a report gave alcoholics an excuse to drink, and would kill alcoholics. Even Ann Landers got into the act in denouncing the report. Look here.

The article that you are seeking may well have came out during that furor.

I have to throw in my own comments on that subject. It is a matter of the make-up of the individual whether any given alcoholic can recover into moderate controlled drinking. Dr. Kenneth Blum, who discovered one of the genes that appears to contribute to alcoholism, and perhaps also to a tendency towards drug addiction, declared that genetic alcoholics must totally abstain from drinking, while other kinds of alcoholics may learn to drink moderately.

Personally, I am a genetic alcoholic. I cannot drink moderately. I know, I tried, plenty, and it just doesn't work. Just a few beers and I will be readdicted again. But I can quite happily and easily totally abstain from drinking alcohol, so that is what I am doing.

Different strokes for different folks. Your mileage may vary, etc...

Also see these links for more discussions of that report:

  1. Attacks on A.A.'s 'heretics'
  2. It is 'irresponsible' to tell the truth to alcoholics
  3. Assumption that any alcoholic can moderate and do controlled drinking
  4. Moderation Management and controlled drinking
  5. More different strokes for different folks

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the believers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Tue, February 28, 2006 10:38
From: "Monica"
Subject: Wow...

/I am soo glad that I did not read this before I drank myself to death.... So you are saying there is a right way to stop drinking and a wrong way? Hmmmm..... //Does it really matter how someone stops? Isn't it important that they believe in something that helps them live then die?/
/I love AA...../
/I love myself.../
/I can stop searching for a solution. Good luck with your searching, I hope you find the peace I found in AA./
/So glad that I have been spared an alcoholic death./
Monica A.

Hello Monica,

Please quit trying to put words into my mouth. Please practice some of that "rigorous honesty" that Bill Wilson liked to brag about (Big Book, page 58).

I never said that there was "a right way to stop drinking and a wrong way". I never said anything like that. It is Alcoholics Anonymous that says that — after grandly declaring that A.A. isn't the only way — so it's also a cultish bait-and-switch trick.
It's also hypocrisy.
And you are also demonstrating the standard cult characteristic called "Reversal of Reality" — just declare that things are the reverse of what they really are.
You are also practicing psychological projection — accusing others of doing what you are doing.

I do recall having used the "wrong" term when I said that it was wrong to lie to sick people about what might heal them. It is very wrong and very immoral to foist completely ineffective quack medicine on sick people and tell them that "It works great. Millions cured. RARELY HAVE we seen it fail."
Now that is the wrong way — the wrong way to heal people, the wrong way to recruit for your favorite religion, the wrong way to live.

When you ask, "Isn't it important that they believe in something that helps them live then die?", you are grossly distorting the picture.

  1. Belief in A.A. does not help people to live or to overcome a drinking problem.

  2. Belief in "Higher Power", or Santa Claus, or Genie, or whatever it is that grants wishes in the heretical A.A. theology, does not help people to quit drinking.

  3. What Professor and Doctor George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., discovered from 20 years of enthusiastically shoving A.A. on alcoholics, was that A.A. was completely ineffective and didn't help alcoholics at all. It just raised the death rate.
    After 8 years of A.A.-based "treatment", Vaillant's first 100 patients scored: 5 sober, 29 dead, 66 still drinking. But 5% per year is also the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics, so the number of alcoholics who quit drinking in the A.A. program is the same number as who quit without any such help. A.A. was completely ineffective and didn't help the alcoholics at all, belief or no belief.

Besides which, what's with the "belief" thing? Since when are wrong beliefs so wonderful?

  • Is it better if people believe that the world is flat, diseases are caused by nasty witches casting spells and hexes, and toads cause warts?

  • Is it better if people happily believe that alcoholism is a spiritual disease that can only be cured (or not cured, but delayed) by practice of cult religion?

  • Is it better if people are taught that they are powerless over alcohol, and can't quit drinking by using their own intelligence and will power?

Now this is a free country. You have a God-given and Constitutional right to join any religion you wish. You can go find great "happiness" in the Moonies or Hari Krishnas or People's Temple or Heaven's Gate or Scientology, if that's how you like to get your kicks.
Heck, you can even join Alcoholics Anonymous if you are so in love with cult religion.
But please don't make unrealistic claims that belief in a cult religion helps alcoholics to quit drinking. It doesn't.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Bill Wilson wrote that you cannot quit drinking by
** using your own intelligence and will power; that you
** must have a "Higher Power" doing the quitting for you.
** When I asked Jesus about that, He said,
** "Screw Bill Wilson.  I'm not gonna quit drinking."

Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 1:49
From: "Paul B. in the U.K."

I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your articles really. I haven't laughed so much in ages, not to mention the fact that I actually feel like I am regaining my sanity after 7 years of NA and AA! i have been absolutely glued to them ever since i found them, you make so much sense and in a very simple and easy to understand way! Where has my head been at' please do not answer that!

You're a star for taking all the time and effort to put those pieces together and put them on the internet. On a more serious note I really started to worry and with good cause about the state of my mental health so, for what its worth you have really helped one person make the journey of regaining their dignity integrity and ability to function as a rational healthy human being.

Take care and I can't thank you enough

Paul B.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are benefitting in some way from my web pages. It makes the effort worthwhile.

Oh, by the way, when you question yourself for believing in the A.A. rap for so long, don't be too hard on yourself. Remember that you were up against some world-class cultists. Cults are subject to the same laws of nature as everything else — survival of the fittest. The stupidest cults are still-born. The mediocre cults die out. Only the very best, slickest, most cleverly deceptive cults survive and become long-lasting world-wide organizations. So you were fooled by the best of the best deceivers. And they got into your head when you were the most vulnerable — sick, weak, detoxing, recovering from alcohol poisoning, and very confused and cloudy-headed. It was never a fair contest.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 12:17
From: "Tom K."
Subject: From one "dry drunk" to another

I'm not one to write letters to strangers over the internet, but I'm doing it anyway. I found your site the day after leaving a dual-diagnosis treatment facility. I was looking for the means to articulate why I left the treatment facility early to some friends of mine who are in N.A., and I found more than enough. Thanks for writing this. I believe twelve-step programs do more harm than good, and institutionalized A.A. is a waste of time, money and energy that does nothing to alleviate the suffering of drug addicts and alcoholics. My friends in recovery are well-intentioned, good-hearted people who are concerned for my well-being, for sure, and I appreciate their proselytizing for what it is: an effort to see me succeed in taking on my drinking problem. But they're misguided. Anyway, please keep the site up, or give me an opportunity to download the whole thing if you ever take it down. I'd like to have it handy as a resource if I ever need to explain to health care professionals or social workers why I don't believe in treatment.

Hi Tom,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I hope you are feeling better. And I intend to keep the web site up for a while.

You can easily download the whole web site by getting the archive files. They are listed on the main menu, here. And you can easily burn the whole web site into a CD. (Instructions here.) The web site is actually designed to be portable or relocatable. It works off of a CD just as well as on the Internet.

UPDATE: 2012.12.15: Actually, the Orange Papers has grown so large that it won't fit on a CD any more; you have to put it on a DVD.

The only problem with the archive files is that they tend to go obsolete in a few weeks, as I keep changing things and adding things.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his
**   delusion is called a philosopher."
**     — Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

From: "Harold S." in the U.K.
Subject: It gets better
Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 12:54

Yo Orange!

This is my third letter, I think. I feel compelled to write. I was stuck in that place for two years — and what creeps me out is that at the time, I /agreed with nearly all of it/. What scares me is how I agreed with it, how it made so much crystal clear sense — I was blank faced goggled eyed for most of those two years, desperately slaving toward serenity, losing all perspective. It was like being under a thick warm blanket, very comforting, but in the end I was being suffocated. I know politics should not come into this, but I have always been left leaning, libertarian if you like — thats the way I choose to interpret reality, and others. I have always believed in reason and human feeling...

...but when I was in those rooms that slowly was being picked apart, dismantled. The more I saw that "every problem was my own making" the more I lacked compassion and compulsion to help others in need. Is that warped? I can't describe to you the affect that place had on the way I saw myself and others — and I bought it! So the process of recoverying from sadistic mind control is to re-establish my own TRUTH in everything from politics (too afraid to as I was sick), relationships (if they like me, they are sick!), hobbies (thats isolating because I am sick) ad infinum. Not only am I recovering from the affects of *DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL* but I am also regaining my own autonomy, I am basically slowly starting to believe in myself, this after 3 years of sobriety.

Liberty! Freedom! Choices!

Orange, it started with this damn site. Its so powerful, so true, and is a /good/ thing. Rambel over. This site is starting to mean a great deal to a great deal of people who have felt trapped and terrified by spiritual lunacy. Thank you,


Hi Harold,

It's nice to hear from you again. Thanks for the ramble. And thanks for all of the flattering comments.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000
**  ways that won't work."
**    — Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 16:46
From: "Ramos C."
Subject: Greetings and Thanks

Dear Agent Orange,

I haven't seen much of your site (yet!) but my wife visits all the time. I just DL'd and extracted your zipped book for her to enjoy on the new system my brother and I recently built (about our 8th), which unfortunately runs windoze (just had to mention that, I love your terminology)... but then, I used to be an applesloth fan (until those barstids sold out; typical) — (sorry about all the parenthesis... you'll get used to it, I hope... I'm just full of asides...).

Seriously, you seem an intelligent and caring person, and your site helped my wife with AA. /I/ know a cult when I see one. I myself come from an alcoholic family, but I only have about 6 drinks a year, usually at the holidaze.

She says you were a hippie in the past, tried lotsa drugs, and found alcohol and tobacco (the only drugs sanctioned and supported by our government, and in my book the worst of the lot) the worst to give up. I've done a few thingies (speed, acid, coke, etc.) myself, and found only tobacco to be a problem to quit (I did quit for 3 months last year, after having to goto hospital to dry out from Oxycontin and Roxicodone which I took for 7 years due to a bunch of back injuries caused by being rear-ended while stopped in traffic, but that's another story which I can relate if you're interested).

Even though all the doctors at the hospital judged me a drug abuser and wouldn't believe I was quitting on my own at home (with the blessings and supervision of my PCP, who prescribed when I was suicidal and nobody else would), that I had already quit the Oxy a month previously and didn't have any problem (other than a few withdrawal symptoms I dealt with quite nicely at home) until 'THEM' busted my doctor and I suddenly ran out of Roxies before I could wean myself off, even though I _never_ _/once/_ asked them for any opioid pain medications... or any meds, for that matter (I still was taking Ibuprofen and Carisoprodol), even despite all that, after a couple days of being really sick I never, during or after, wanted any opioids from them, despite all that, I never had the urge to obtain or do any more opioids. There just wasn't a problem. I've never had a problem with any drugs when it came to stopping... except tobacco. Just very lucky, I guess. After being asked to go through monthly urine tests and sign a 'narcotics agreement' by a doctor at a clinic I had to goto to renew my heart meds and carisoprodol prescriptions, I said "fudge this!" and weaned off the soma as well. Fortunately, no problem (I now use Valerian Root as a muscle relaxer... better than naught). Haven't seen that doctor since.

Now, I understand the doctor's point of view. after treating many people who've brought serious problems on themselves by abusing, I _can_ understand their feelings. But like with AA, one ends up being judged and lumped into the accepted perception of a 'drug user'. The only drug I use besides tobacco is the wacky weed, and not very often, because I have to wait until someone invites me to join them in a puff or two, or is kind enough to make a small gift to me. Mostly, I use it for pain, and I have a *lot* of pain. 24/7/52, for the rest of my life. Yeah, that accident really left me f***ed-up. Plus other things, like a crushed hand. So I don't get much pain relief.

But those seven years using opioids helped me, and I don't regret it one bit; and my doctor, in my book, was and is a brave saint. It helped me to do what a score of doctors at several pain centers told me was my only option: /learn to live with it /(of course, they never offered advice on /how/ to do this). Well, I did learn to live with it. And deal with the horrible depression from having my life ruined forever because some clown wasn't paying attention to his driving; and having a great credit history (12 credit cards) ruined because I can't work (I've tried... again and again). And the panic attacks from all these creditors calling me up for their money (some still are calling, and it's been 12 years).

My wife was PO'd when I came home and told her I was quitting the pain meds... I just decided on my own, because I knew it was time; they no longer worked, I was taking enough to kill you and several other people (420mg a day) and THEM were harassing my doctor. She was convinced I would become a monster. Well, I've had a few bitchy days, but she says I'm doing really well. Myself, I don't see what the big deal is. There are many, many people even worse off them me. I just never had any kind of addiction problem (except ciggies), and have found that, as Reader's Digest says, laughter is the best medicine (along with my wife's and my rescued greyhound's love).

So, I have a lot of compassion for people who do have alcohol/drug problems, and wish them all the best of luck. But AA ain't gonna do it. Only you can prevent forest fires. Only you can quit alcohol/drugs. Only you can beat or manage depression. You understand I mean the general 'you'. A little help from your friends, or 'professionals', can help of course. But I've gone with people to AA meetings. I saw no friends or professionals. Just a lot of sad souls who were effectively brainwashed, spouting the same old pre-prepared rhetoric, and still weren't any better.

Far out. I haven't whined so much about all this to anyone before. I guess you've impressed me. My poor wife still struggles with booze. She did before we met, and thought AA helped, but only because she had no-one else. She does now, but is trying to find other programs, because AA did more harm than good. She is certainly impressed, and finds your site very helpful. So thanks again for all your efforts, and for putting up with my outrageous rantings.

Please keep up the good work, and good it is. I just hope the unfortunate souls out there can someday see the light, and I refer to all believers in AA. Thanks once again. Especially for your patience, which I'm sure you're about out of (excuse the bad grammar).


PS — Wifey sez you might use this... I don't believe it, it's just to long, but it's yours to do with as you see fit.

[2nd letter from Ramos, minutes later:]

Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 17:07

Dear Orange,

Oh Your Gawd! I just saw your jokes page (while investigating the AOL (and I won't say what my personal definition of that acronym is...) e-mail fiasco), and I literally have tears in my eyes. As I said, laughter /is/ the best medicine.

Keep it up (no pun intended, old man...)


Hi Muta,

Thanks for all of the compliments. And congratulations on your newfound freedom and empowerment. And I wish you both the best.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Keeping your body healthy is an expression of
** gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the
** clouds, everything.  —  Thich Nhat Hanh

Date: Wed, March 1, 2006 15:09
From: "JOHN S."
Subject: with thanks

thanks for the wonderful assistance in helping me to come to terms with my resistance to accept AA ..... now i know why .... ive been saying its a cult for months.... and i cant stand those old time clowns and their self righteous lunacy


Hi K,

Thanks for the thanks. Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Cast off the shackles of this modern oppression and
** take back what is rightfully yours, because as William
** Shakespeare never wrote, 'Life is but a bullring, and
** we are but matadors trying to dodge all the horns.'"
** —  Matthew Clayfield

Date: Thu, March 2, 2006 11:24
From: "Doug P."


I was reading some of your information posted on your website, it is interesting.

I am curious as to why you are so against AA, even if it has helped only a small percentage of people, isn't that better than nothing?


Hi Doug,

Thanks for the question. The answer is that A.A. harms a lot of people, probably far more than it "helps". The evidence that A.A. helps anybody is so thin that it is non-existent.

A.A. spreads grossly false information about alcoholism and recovery, and suppresses research into methods of recovery that might work better than Alcoholics Anonymous. See The Twelve Biggest Lies of A.A. for some of the details.

A.A. even drives some people crazy, and pushes them over the edge into suicide. Check out this list.

Somebody had better tell the truth about all of that. I seem to have gotten stuck with the job by default.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Thu, March 2, 2006 17:52
From: "Lisa H."
Subject: interested in your ideas


I work as a facilitator in an intensive outpatient treatment program. We work from a disease model of addiction, but the backbone of the program remains the 12 steps. I am looking for other ways of really helping people who struggle with this. I would be genuinely interested in any reference to information that has helped you or people you know. I liked your one step program — "Just don't drink any more alcohol."

Lisa H.

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the question.

What has been most helpful to me is:

  1. The decision to really quit and stay quit. That is simple but powerful. When other guys in "the program" were mumbling things like, "I wonder which of us will be the one to make it?",
    I was saying to myself, "I know that I'm going to make it, because I've had it with being sick and dying." It wasn't a question.

    This one is very tricky. Lots of people will say that they want to quit drinking or drugging or smoking, but they don't, not really. They just want the pain to stop. They still want the feeling of using their favorite drug, but without the pain that comes from chronic use of that drug. As long as they continue to believe that they can get one side of the coin without the other — the pleasure without the pain — they are likely to relapse.

  2. One thing that is helpful in getting people's thinking clearer is the techniques for logical thinking that SMART teaches, like a cost/benefit analysis. (Which Albert Ellis calls a "risk/reward ratio".) Look here for one example of that.

    When you strip a cost/benefit analysis down to it's simplest form, it can be something like, "If I go out drinking tonight, it might be a whole lot of fun tonight, but I know that I will also smoke a cigarette once I get good and drunk. Once drunk, I won't be able to resist a cigarette. I know that because I never did before. Then I would get instantly readdicted to tobacco and be trapped in that Hell again, and that's no fun. It took me 30 years to get unhooked from that. I don't want to go there again. So I won't go out drinking tonight. That's the easiest and safest answer."

    See? You just weigh the benefits against the costs, the positives against the negatives, the pleasure against the pain, and ask yourself what you really want.

    When I weigh the fun of drinking against the pain of coughing myself to death it's an easy choice.

    And then I think about the pain of waking up sick as a dog with hangovers, a zillion times, year after year, and that really does it.

  3. That brings up the subject of SMART meetings (classes) in general. I recommend them. The truth is that I quit drinking without them, and didn't even know that SMART existed until after I had about 3 months of sobriety. Still, SMART was like a breath of fresh air, a real revelation after all of the A.A. meetings I had been to. They tell the truth and they don't try to cram crazy cult dogma down your throat. I didn't go to many more A.A. or N.A. meetings after I found out about SMART.

  4. Understanding the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster is a very big thing for me.

    It seems to me like recovering from an addiction happens in two distinct phases:

    1. In phase one, you just fight to get unaddicted, to go through the pain and discomfort and disorientation of withdrawal, and to get out of the habit and lifestyle of routine consumption of something addicting.
    2. In phase two, the mind games start. That little voice in your head starts whispering, "Oh, it's been so long since we've had one. We've got a handle on it now. We've got it under control. Just one will be okay now."
      If you believe that addictive voice for a minute you are screwed.

    Understanding that, and not getting fooled again, is extremely important for staying clean and sober over the long haul. I would harp on that technique a lot.

We have discussed the whole question of what alternatives work many times in the letters section. Look at these letters:

Have a good day, and good luck with your work.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
** telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
** and that your will power is useless, is not
** getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
** With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Fri, March 3, 2006 15:09
From: "Peter F."
Subject: Bill Wilson's infidelities


I am an active member of AA and loved the article on Bill Wilson's extra-marital affairs; having a strong interest in AA history. What it undeniably proves to me that the AA program works despite the individual member including the founder. Personally, I do not revere Bill although I thank him every day for the fellowship because I would be probably dead by now if it had not been founded.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the letter. I think what you meant to say in that last sentence is that you would be dead if you had not stopped drinking alcohol.

The A.A. program does not work. It has a zero percent success rate above the normal rate of spontaneous remission. A.A. indoctrination even increases the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics.

There is no rationalisation or excuses for Bill's behaviour and is particularly reprehensible with regard to the unknown damage caused to the alcoholic victims. It just demonstrates how flawed he was therefore it was just as well that the AA principles were gleaned from much older and trusted sources rather than from Bill's own philosophy.

Excuse me, but there are no "spiritual principles" in the cult practices of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman. And the pro-Nazi Oxford Group sure wasn't "much older and trusted sources".

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, page 39.

I do not see that AA has developed into a personality cult — it has survived and flourished after his death. To be sure there are the pro and con camps but I see this as froth and bubble and totally superfluous to AA's purpose. Let those who get a charge from it indulge. Even the alteration and reinterpretation of AA history is irrelevant. Most members are lucky to know who Bill or Dr. Bob were let alone their shenanigans in AA.

Well, regardless of what you don't see, of course A.A. is a personality cult. I've heard far too many A.A. members raving about how it was a miracle that Bill Wilson invented 12 such perfect steps that they would solve all of the problems of the world, and how Bill was a messenger from God.

Notwithstanding your article is most valuable because of the perspective on the origins of AA and reminds us all of the humility required for spiritual progress, "not spiritual perfection"

Well whatever, thanks.

Regards and thanks
Peter F.

Okay Peter,

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could
** touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started
** giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be
** broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries.
** This was all a scientific thing."
** === Nell Wing — PASS IT ON, page 370.
** (Nell Wing was an early secretary of A.A..)
** Apparently, for treating alcoholics, LSD works three times
** better than cult religion.

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Last updated 11 April 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters38.html