Letters, We Get Mail, XL

Date: Fri, March 10, 2006 0:31
From: "Deviant Boys"

As a younger alcoholic in search of help, i must tell you, that i have always been suspect of AA, and its religious base, (i dont believe in god or in any "higher power"), yet the question i have, and have searched your site for is, what are the good alternatives to stopping by yourself? like, do you know of any reputable organizations that arent faith based? or cultish?

Hi Devi,

Yes, I was just answering that same question a few minutes ago, in another letter.

First off, the list of links and contacts that I gave to that other correspondent is here.

And then see the page of links, here. I rearranged it so that the non-cult recovery and self-help groups are all listed right at the top of the page, mostly in alphabetical order.

You should be able to contact some good people through those links.

Have a good day, and good luck.

== 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: Sun, March 12, 2006 21:30
From: "Laura"
Subject: Thankyou

I found A.A. on my own about 6 years ago. At first I believed all the self-righteous spewing and confessions I heard because I thought the outfit was legit... boy was I wrong... recently I had the nerve to challenge an aquaintance of mine at one of the meetings. I said look, I've known you for years and when did you do all the terrible acts you are speaking of? With an evil grin and smugness on his face he said "Look we are all just a bunch of drunks and evildooers here, all of us!" And another one of them said "We all have a part in the world's misery." So I say HORSEFEATHERS, I'm outta there, and thanks to your excellent piece of work on the internet I am even more convinced it's for ever! Some of the worst lying and verbal harassement I've ever heard has been at those meetings! And who needs it!

Thanks again, your friend

Hi LauraAnn,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your newfound freedom.

That "we are all evildoers here" line reminds me of The 'Us Stupid Drunks' Conspiracy.

In fact, it is The 'Us Stupid Drunks' Conspiracy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If you persist in making criminals out of
** alcoholics and addicts, you will find that
** you have lots and lots of criminals. — Orange

Date: Mon, March 13, 2006 0:12
From: "Robert C."
Subject: Some questions...

You have obviously put a lot of time and effort into this research on AA. I have recovered using the 12 steps. I am curious, what brought on this passionate distaste for AA? Would you feel the same about AA, if Bill and Bob were regarded as just another pair of drunks whose opinion held no more wieght than any other's? I can understand the distaste for AA meetings and the feeling that there is too much religion, because that is my opinion as well. Thanks for the information on the website.


Hi Dan,

Thanks for the question.

It isn't just any one thing; it's everything from Bill and Bob pushing Frank Buchman's cult religion as a quack cure for alcoholism, to the coercive recruiting, to the lying about the A.A. failure rate, to A.A. trying to suppress research into better recovery programs.

I summarized my objections to A.A. on the web page What's Not Good About A.A.?.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If you persist in writing blank checks to
** treatment centers without demanding results,
** then you will continue to get failure
** disguised as success.

Date: Mon, March 13, 2006 5:06
From: "J B"
Subject: What worries me...

...slightly, is the effect of years of brainwashing has on people. I am out of AA now for a good six months (thanks, mostly, to your work) and still I experience states of chronic self doubt, confusion, and a sense of being out of control (non of which I had before AA). Alcoholism is a horrendous way of life. AA is a horrendous way to recover.

Hi again, James, glad to hear that you are doing well. And thanks for the compliment.

On this subject, I have noticed there is a split, kinda, between the "therapy based 12 steppers" and the hard-line dogmatic big book Nazis. The therapy people are more concerned about feelings, inner child's, "spirituality", and a kind of mystical style — whilst the big book Nazis play hard and fast by the Big Book. Of course a wild generalisation, but what I feel harmed me more than anything was the whole deep and sickly moral aspect of AA. I can remember doing a step four and nearly every negative emotion I had, be it fear or sadness etc, was somehow turned into "selfishness". Shyness and anxiety became "pride", and that people with small egos didn't get afraid because their expectations were so low. So, in other words whenever I felt afraid, annoyed, anxious, etc I blamed myself internally, what I thought of as human characteristics were now "defects" and a waking great ego. Can you imagine going to a good shrink and him telling you that your panic attacks are caused by your "big ego"??. So, realising how disgusting I was (by Wilson's criteria) I found it easier to surrender to God, letting my reasoning skills go, and become more and more robotic and confused.

It has been my observation that those who treat it like a therapy group, the Bradshaw branch if you like, do not get harmed by the true nature of Wilson's message. They simply deny that something fishy is going on when Wilson is waxing lyrical about morals, defects, will etc. Where as the hardliners know exactly what "ego deflation" is, and how defective we alcoholics are.

My ego was deflated in AA, and to be honest it wasn't pleasant. Each day I have to work my self through the confusion and the beliefs that were somehow implanted in my mind by "letting go". People go in to AA for self help — they do so to try and help themselves. Each one of them is virtuous for that reason. And six months down the line they have been completely and utterly brainwashed, their freedom restricted, their world horrifically narrowed. It makes me sick.

I really want to loose my anger I have toward that group. Ever since I have left I feel as they have trampled all over my inner most self. A violation. I say if people want to join a cult to get sober, so be it; but for fucks sake drop the deception, the outright lies, the "moral crusade" on suffering alcoholics. Of course AA should exist — but it should be group whose members have chosen to be there, who have said: "ohhh religious conversion and strong dogma, that's for me"! It makes me sick and I want to forget about the whole fucking thing.

Keep going Orange. And stay sober. Some of them have a vested interest in seeing us "dry drunks" drink again and die.

The Shadow.

You are absolutely right — I couldn't agree more. They have a $6.2 billion/year vested interest, just in the USA. There is plenty of good money to be made by selling an old cult religion to the drunks and druggies.

I am doing great, I am happy to say. You take care of yourself too, and 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, March 13, 2006 6:01
From: Frauke BJ
Subject: A 12-Step Prayer from Munich/Germany

Hi AO!

Just to brighten up your day I am sending you the "Perfect Prayer for Perfect People" — a 12 step joke about how we in Munich see some fellow AAs:

"Oh, Almighty, do accept:

we're so perfect and adept.

Henceforth, let our names be praised.

Otherwise, all hell be raised. Amen!"

(c) all rights reserved: as revealed to Frauke V. B´┐Żlow & Kent O. Doering, Munich 10. Feb. 2006

Keep up your great work!

Hi Fraux,

Vielen dank. Das ist komish.

Weisst du, ich wöhnte in Wiesbaden 3 Jahre, von 1962 bis 1965, als Student? Viel spass. Ich habe Deutschland gern.

Guten Tag.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** 'Tis pity wine should be so deleterious,
**  For tea and coffee leave us much more serious.
**     == Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

Date: Mon, March 13, 2006 6:34
From: "John D."
Subject: reading your pages

very interesting stuff. Thank you.

-John in Berkeley

[2nd note:]

I just found out you changed your email address. Anyway, I am enjoying your pages, and linked some of them to my site at


my website (weather, astronomy, homelessness issues)

Hi John, Thanks for the compliment and the link.

Ah, Berzerkeley, my old alma mater. Haven't been there in a long while. That brings back memories.

Have a good day

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** George W. Bush is a Weapon of Mass Deception

Date: Mon, March 13, 2006 8:14
From: "Howard W."

Dear Orange —

I believe that if you need to stop substance abuse, you stop. I did just that — stop.

No one can do it for you. AA can not do it; AA cannot even help. AA does not want to help.

SMART can help. SMART can help get your act together; can help you solve your problems. The folks at SMART seem to be a more caring group.

To me, AA is not a caring group. They seem to be a group of strangers, and the trust is absent. I went to AA for a while, after I quit, and I was glad it was anonymous. I did not want those people to know anything about me.

I suggest that the medical profession concentrate on two things: Developing medication which deters alcohol consumption. Second, that the medical profession concentrate on therapies to solve mental/emotional problems after the client patient has stopped. "Dual Diagnosis" is commonplace and is "tough".

Most certainly realize that 12 step is iatrogenic.


Hi again Howard,

It's good to hear from you again. It sounds like you are doing well. And I agree with your statements there.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Some cause happiness wherever they go;
**  others, whenever they go."
**     — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

[another letter from Howard:]

Date: Fri, March 17, 2006 14:40
From: "Howard W."
Subject: humor:

Dear Orange:

There is a web site which may amuse you.

It is a parody.

It is called: lip balm anonymous.

It is a parody of AA and other "recovery" groups.


Howard W

Thanks for the tip, Howard. That is good.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Gandalf said, "The little orks don't like
** humor. They cringe in pain at the sound of
** laughter. And they really can't stand it when
** you poke fun at them. So they howl and growl
** and scowl and get all bent out of shape."

[another letter from Howard:]

Date: Tue, March 21, 2006 15:39
From: "Howard W."

Dear Orange:

I do think that AA uses the vulnerability of people to recruit members. That seems quite obvious to me.

Also, I think that the substance abuse treatment business is very cynical. Logic dictates that the industry is well aware that AA is selling snake oil; the industry must know — how can it be ignorant? — that 12 step is iatrogenic. It appears that substance abuse treatment is a profit center.

The court system, it seems to me, uses AA as an alternative to incarceration. Incarceration is expensive; and, in most places, overcrowded. AA does not object to this; the rooms are filled.

And, substance abuse treatment facilities do have desparate and vulnerable people. They make good candidates for membership in AA.

Fortunately for me, I was not that desparate and vulnerable to believe the drivel of AA. I knew that "denial" was crude emotional blackmail. I quit abusing on my own.

Having been to AA, and found it wanting [to be kind], I became curious about those who do not stay. I understand 95% are gone in a year.

  • 1. Why do they leave?
  • 2. What do coerced attendees think about AA?
  • 3. Why do the small number who stay, stay?
  • 4. Why do people in substance abuse treatment, who ought to know better, continue to enable AA? Are they co dependent? Are they cynical? Do they believe that drunks and druggies are unworthy of competent treatment? Perhaps the notion that "alcoholism" is a disease is fictive.

I have actually been told that programs like SMART are too complicated and mental. Alcoholics would never understand it. Also, alcoholics need AA because their lives are wrecked and they need the refuge of AA to survive. Very cynical and defeatist.

I appreciate your work. Vaya con dios

Howard W

Hi again, Howard,

And thanks again for the compliments.

Taking the last item first, the A.A. claim that "SMART is too complicated and mental", the funny thing is that I was told the very same thing about "Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy" by my cocaine-snorting child-molesting 12-Step counselor. Apparently everything is too intellectual and complicated for the A.A. true believers.

I'm also beginning to suspect that the treatment industry is very cynical. They know what is going on. I have spoken with a few really good-hearted counselors and program managers, and they despair of the horrendous failure rate.

It's like the woman who told me that I was the only one left who had not relapsed out of my whole class of over 100 people. She was not happy to be telling me that — she wasn't happy with the program's failure rate — but she was happy that I was still making it. She cares.

But a lot of her co-workers either don't care or are in denial about the worthlessness of the program.

Or worse yet, they seem to just regard the relapsers with contempt, and claim that it's the fault of those darned addicts if they don't do it right.

That's just another example of blame-shifting, of course. The programs don't need to work at all if it's just the addicts' and alcoholics' fault when they relapse.

About your other questions — why do they leave?
That's easy — they don't like it.

And the coerced people hate it. When they can, they show up at SMART meetings grumbling about the nutcases over in A.A. meetings.

The ones who stay are the most interesting. We were just discussing that question in a previous letter, so click on that link to go there.

And item 4 is the toughest one. I suspect that a lot of people have a lot of different motives and feelings and beliefs:

  1. But it's really good for some people. I've seen some people recover.
  2. It's all we've got.
  3. It's cheap.
  4. It gets the drunks and the druggies praying.
  5. It's better than nothing.
  6. Those A.A. fanatics will make a lot of trouble and raise unholy hell if we don't include them in the treatment program.
  7. We might lose funding if we don't please the A.A. groups by sending patients to them, and endorsing 12-Step recovery. Congressman Jim Ramstad has a finger in the pie, and controls funding.

Oh well, 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: Tue, March 14, 2006 9:03
From: "Marsha H."
Subject: Another thought ...

Dear A. Orange:

You have put a great deal of energy into writing your Snake Oil page about the 12 Steps. I'm sure your ego has you convinced that you need to "help" others, but the reality is that it is your ego which, being threatened by the 12 steps, is in need of help. I hope you find the help you need, and in whatever form you find it, I rejoice for you.

M. L. H.

Hi Marsha,

Thanks for the letter.

You know, that is just such typical cultish nonsense — "your ego... being threatened by the 12 Steps..."

Do you even know what ego is? Let's look at a few dictionary definitions of the word, here.

Random House says 'the "I" or self of any person'.
Webster's says 'the self esp. as inside one as contrasted with something outside'.

Now how would I feel "threatened" by the 12 cult religion practices of Frank Buchman that Alcoholics Anonymous promotes?

Only in the same way as I might feel threatened by a loaded gun pointed at me, or somebody intending to do me harm.

But you are trying to imply that the 12 Steps are something good, and that I should be happy to surrender my mind and my will to your cult, and that there is something wrong with my morality or my mind if I don't approve of your cultish beliefs.

The 12 Steps are not good things or good practices.

What I find most curious is that you were reading the page on 12-Step Snake Oil before writing to complain. That web page criticizes the 12-Step cult for shoving guilt-inducing practices on abused children and raped women. How on earth do you make the illogical leap from me criticizing cult practices that harm those victims further, to you imagining that my "ego" feels threatened?

Talk about an illogical leap. Care to explain your thinking?

Do you really believe that inducing guilt in abused children, raped women, and sick schizophrenics is a good thing to do?

How about charging people money to treat a non-existent disease like "codependency"?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, March 14, 2006 17:19
From: "keneth d."
Subject: i appreciate this criticism of this cult.

aa and all 12-step concepts are quackery; and it essentially admits that. I have no opposition, strictly, on religious grounds or on disbelief of supernatural deities; it is clear that 12-step concepts in and of themselves, redefine "god" or the "higher power" as extremely limited in either goodness or power or both.. Among all the other flaws of this sickening cult , this is one of the major fallacies. Regardless of a a final outcome, to me, it seems totally illogical to direct a prayer to "higher power" or deity indicating that "I want to learn to accept an intolerable 'thorn in my flesh'". This isn't a logical definition of god.

This cult organization has also created professional employment discrimination and has subtly (and maybe overtly) limited scientific investigation.

Hi Keneth,

Thanks for the letter. I couldn't agree more.

I don't know if you have read the web page on The Heresy of the 12 Steps, but that was one of my objections too — they twist God into one very weird unholy creature who tortures you with alcohol to get you to grovel before him. That sounds more Satanic than Godly.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "I distrust those people who know so well what God
** wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides
** with their own desires."  ==  Susan B. Anthony, 1896

[2nd letter from Keneth:]

From: "keneth d."
Subject: what happened to moderation. thanks for website
Date: Thu, March 16, 2006 13:59

It's awfully strange that no one (hardly) in medical science community or in the field of psychology, etc. ever does serious study on the use of moderation training for a person who has been a problem drinker; i think this is directly and indirectly related to the cult movement (AA). If a person drinks too much and suffers the negative effects (in their variety of forms), they develop a "failure identity". And this negative identity is maintained by repeated over-drinking. Also a continuing long period of total abstinence perpetuates the "failure identity". This represents a double-bind or avoidance-avoidance type of conflict.. The individual sees other people drinking a beverage and apparently avoiding excessive problems. But feels that he or she cannot for whatever strong and unknown reasons. Only logical solution: have strategies, and behavioral change which facilitate "learning to be a moderate drinker." If AA and AA concepts had been magic bullets they would have put themselves out of business.

Yep. I just couldn't agree more. But instead of A.A. putting itself out of business, the problem has gotten worse.

  1. Around 1948, Ms. Marty Mann told Congress that there might be 100,000 alcoholics in the USA.
  2. In 1969, Bill Wilson testified before the U.S. Senate that there might be 5 million alcoholics in the USA.
  3. Now, after 70 years of A.A. fixing the problem, we have an estimated 20 or 30 million.

**  You did a heck of a job, Brownie.
**  You did a heck of a job, Bushie.
**  You did a heck of a job, Chertoff.
**  You did a heck of a job, A.A.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

[3rd letter from Keneth:]

Date: Tue, March 21, 2006 11:03
From: "keneth d."
Subject: A.A. Mind Control

This seems to be an ultimate example of mind control; scare tactics. A powerful example of this comes from text in one of the main A.A. publications. A story is told of a man who had never touched alcohol in 25 years after previous over-drinking in his life.. Well in the intellectual prose of the writers"out came the slippers" when he retired from work. And down the drain he went.

This is a form of mind control attempts with the use of scare tactics for the concerned individual studying this program. The individual's unconscious mind essentially is saying "yep and that'll probably happen to me, because i'm like this man". This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, indeed.

Thanks for this website.

Hi Keneth,

Thanks again.

And you are quite right. "Phobia Induction" — aka "implanting fears" — is a standard part of the process of converting a newcomer into a true believer in a cult religion. Making them afraid to leave makes it easier to keep them around. Eventually, phobia induction even makes the victims afraid to think the wrong thoughts, or else bad things might happen.

And A.A. does it just as much as the Moonies or Scientology.

The story to which you are referring is in chapter 3 of the Big Book:

      A man of thirty was doing a great deal of spree drinking. He was very nervous in the morning after these bouts and quieted himself with more liquor. He was ambitious to succeed in business, but saw that he would get nowhere if he drank at all. Once he started, he had no control whatever. He made up his mind that until he had been successful in business and had retired, he would not touch another drop. An exceptional man, he remained bone dry for twenty-five years and retired at the age of fifty-five, after a successful and happy business career. Then he fell victim to a belief which practically every alcoholic has that his long period of sobriety and self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men. Out came his carpet slippers and a bottle. In two months he was in a hospital, puzzled and humiliated. He tried to regulate his drinking for a little while, making several trips to the hospital meantime. Then, gathering all his forces, he attempted to stop altogether and found he could not. Every means of solving his problem which money could buy was at his disposal. Every attempt failed. Though a robust man at retirement, he went to pieces quickly and was dead within four years.
'The Big Book', Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 32-33.

And the moral of the story is supposed to be that you can't ever recover from alcoholism:

      This case contains a powerful lesson. most of us have believed that if we remained sober for a long stretch, we could thereafter drink normally. But here is a man who at fifty-five years found he was just where he had left off at thirty. We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking , there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
'The Big Book', Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 33.
Now I agree that quitting drinking and staying quit is a good thing to do.

But Bill Wilson declared that you can't quit drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous, in spite of the fact the guy in the story did just that:

Young people may be encouraged by this man's experience to think that they can stop, as he did, on their own will power. We doubt if many of them can do it, because none will really want to stop, and hardly one of them, because of the peculiar mental twist already acquired, will find he can win out. Several of our crowd, men of thirty or less, had been drinking only a few years, but they found themselves as helpless as those who had been drinking twenty years.
'The Big Book', Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 33.

So you are powerless over alcohol and doomed. Better go join a cult.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Through clever and constant application
** of propaganda, people can be made to see
** paradise as hell, and also the other way
** round, to consider the most wretched sort
** of life as paradise"  —  Adolf Hitler

Date: Wed, March 15, 2006 19:10
From: Baxter
Subject: AA


Hi Baxter,

Here is the usual list of answers to your questions:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

I have to ask, "Who is WE?"
Just the guys in your meeting group?

The vast majority of people who want to quit drinking, more than 95% of them, do not find A.A. to be helpful. It doesn't "work" for them, so they walk out and quit on their own.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
** who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
** has intended us to forgo their use."
**     ==  Galileo Galilei

Date: Wed, March 15, 2006 20:08
From: "so beyondthat"
Subject: Another system

Dear AO:

Why, in all of this time has someone not formed a less superstitious program for people who are recovering alcoholics. I mean one that would have meetings. People, especially in the beginning, do need a lot of support.

I know of RR but nobody else but the 12step groups has an ongoing involvement program.


It's a done deal. They have formed non-cult groups. SMART and WFS seem to be the most popular. Go to the links page. It begins with a list of various non-cult recovery support groups, in roughly alphabetical order. You will find that there are also now a lot of online meetings, too.

And here is a short list of the highlights:

RR is folded, gone, because Jack Trimpey decided that meetings were superfluous and obsolete. Plenty of other people, including me, disagree. What happened was most of the RR facilitators and leaders just moved sideways over into SMART, so now SMART is the going thing. But WFS is rapidly become more popular with the women, too.

In general, your question about why the non-cult self-help groups are so few and far between, and the 12-Step groups are so many, is due to two reasons:

  1. A.A. had a 70-year head start.
  2. A.A. is a cult. Cults grow exponentially. Cults expend a lot of energy trying to get new members. SMART and other sane self-help groups are more concerned with helping people. SMART even says that the day will come when you have learned everything that it has to offer, so you will just walk out the door and get on with your life. Cults do just the opposite: they say that you can't ever leave, and you must spend all of your spare time recruiting and producing new converts.

Asking why A.A. is so much bigger than SMART also reminds me of a question like, "Why does cancer grow so much faster than normal tissue?"

The answer is, "Because that's what a cancer does. Growth for the sake of growth is the morality of a cancer cell." It is also the morality of cults.

I think that some of it is so ridiculous. Anyone with a mind gets up and leaves. It's a one size fits all and they put down any dissenters or people who bring any new breeze to their tired old rap.

Agreed. Most people, 95% or more of them, vote with their feet and walk out.

Do you think that there is a chance for someone to start another no cost group that could grow like AA or is it a waste of time?

It's done. See the links page.

The "disease" concept, the "powerless" concept, the "HP" concept and the others are so ridiculous. What does paying your debts and saying you are sorry to your ex brother in law have to do with staying sober? It is beyond moronic and produces zombies.


There are people out there who have conquered the dragon and left AA and can really help but there is nothing else that is organized. Any ideas? Also, many drug addicts go to AA because they think NA is "too rough." Also many pill heads sit in meetings with skid row dope fiends. They sit there saying "we are all the same. It's all about feelings." What horsehockey.

I don't want to get off the beaten path here. Do you think there is hope for an offshoot that would be less culty? Just like a cancer survivor's group or something like that?

Cheer up. It exists.

Advise and thanks for your site.

I remember reading it after my first AA exposure and I was hysterical. It's not funny but the dark truth usually can be so.



Thanks for the letter. And cheer up, the situation is actually improving. With each passing year, there are more and more SMART and WFS meetings, and also more online support groups.

Have a good day.

== 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: Fri, March 17, 2006 12:22
From: "john m."
Subject: Curious

I am curious; if someone commits suicide, while they are sober, can we honestly say that they died sober? Also, if someone dies of an over-dose of heroine, can we say that they died sober, since they did not drink alcohol?

Hi John,

Those are good questions. It really depends on your definition of the word "sober".

I prefer to use the narrow definition, and just interpret "sober" to mean that someone has no alcohol in him. So the heroin addict would be sober but stoned out of his gourd on smack. You could say that he's sober but not straight.

A.A., on the other hand, likes to expand "sobriety" to mean that someone is going to A.A. meetings, doing the 12 Steps, etc., which I find ridiculous.

The death toll while I was in AA for six years, in Reno, Nevada:

  • Total of five unintentional overdoses, that I knew about. Two were heroin, the others were sleeping pills, pain pills, or vallium.

  • Total of seven overt suicides of people that attended meetings, my first two years of sobriety. The first four, they intentionally took drugs and alcohol for the purpose of ending their life. One shot himself in the head, the other hung himself, because they continued to get in debt, after sobriety, because of their gambling. The last (I have forgotten his name) put the hose in the exhaust and put it into the back window of his truck. Had no drugs or alcohol from the time he started going to meetings, went to meetings on a regular basis. Unfortunately, he got lonely and depressed. None of the women in AA or NA would have any thing to do with him. These women prefered the hip slick and cool pontificator that was not really sober, but fit in with their image of the ideal man.

  • The above does not even count the deaths that we never heard about.

I suppose that AA could work, if it was done the way that it was intended, but unfortunately, most there have another agenda, and it is not helping others to stay sober.

Bummer. That's a lot of suicides. But it doesn't surprise me. Suicides have been a constant subject in the letters coming in here. Look here for a list of suicides in the letters that have come in.

Telling people that they are hopeless and defective and sinful and disgusting and can't ever recover is bound to make some people very depressed and suicidal.

And Bill Wilson did it to people deliberately. This is Bill's recruiting manual in the Big Book:

If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic, begin to dwell on the hopeless feature of the malady. Show him, from your own experience, how the queer mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 92.

Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism. This is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more likely to follow your suggestions.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 94.

Oh yeh, make them despair of their very lives and maybe you can manipulate them into the cult.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** My enemies I can handle, but Lord save me from
** those who would do unto me for my own good.

[2nd letter from John:]

Date: Wed, March 22, 2006 22:27
From: "john m."
Subject: Re: Curious

Actually, I was just being sarcastic (except for the statistics of my own observations). There is still small "skirmishes" in AA, about talking about drugs. I just wanted to make the point, that there is still the belief in AA, that if you die without alcohol in your body, then you are 'sober'.

Ah, okay. I just can't help but find that legalistic argument amusing. I guess I'm quick to bite on that hook.

One thing that I used to suggest to the people that I sponsored (or a better word I use is indoctrinate), was that they get a physical, and stay away from the vitamin peddlers in AA. I think that that is one of the few things that I did that was good for new comers.

I never told anyone to stop doctor prescribed meds. I did not present myself as an expert in alcoholism. Instead, I was just their friend, or confidant. It is still possible to help a problem drinker. I never tried to detox a person I was helping myself. I AM NOT A DOCTOR!

Yet, there were many old timers that 'implied' that they knew better than ministers, physicians, and psychiatric professionals. This is one of the many reasons that I left AA.

As for 13th stepping. I was one of the guys in AA, that women in recovery avoided like the plague.

AA has turned into sub-groups of special interest 'support' groups, such as the (I am being sarcastic with the following, but I think the readers will get the message I am trying to convey) 'all men are evil/lesbo recruiting group'.

I got fed up with new comers being told not to start taking care of themselves, by eating healthy, quit smoking, and exercise. Instead, they were encouraged to do the AA communion of chain smoking cigarrettes (preferably none filtered), guzzle black coffee, suppress your sex urge, and say every thing is great, even if you have to make it up.

Just before I got into AA, my wife kicked me out, she left with my children, and got remarried again (how dare she get on with her life!). At my 5th year of sobriety, I was suicidal. rather that 'consulting' my sponsor, I went to the local VA Hospital, spent a week on the psych ward, and started going to therapy. I was fortunate, in that I found a therapist that was neutral about AA. I did not discover my inner child, but discovered that I was very immature for my age, and that I was a very dependent person, no matter if it was religious cults, 12 step groups, or relatives that tolerated my sponging off of them. In other words, I had to grow up, take responsibility for my actions, and start living life. I went to my last AA meeting in 2003, and I have not looked back since. I now own a house, property, chickens, goats, a dog and a cat. I am now married again to a beautiful lady. And oh yeah, I now have 10+ years without illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

Hi again, John,

Thanks for the follow-up, and congratulations on your 10 years. Life is just so much better when you aren't addicted, isn't it?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "If I saw a man beating a tied up horse, I could
** not prove it was wrong, but I'd know it was wrong."
**   ==  Mark Twain

Date: Fri, March 17, 2006 20:00
From: "LauriJean H."
Subject: but why?

I completely agree (well, no, I don't because I have my own thoughts that vary here and there, but just for argument's sake...) with your "interpretations..." BUT I'm left with this glaring, difficult, challenging question:

Why? What's to be gained? AA isn't a profit-making organization... of what value is it to continue propagating itself? Is it just a numbers game? Bragging rights? Am I missing something? Help me with this question, please? I have a loved one in AA and have brought up many of the issues you detail — but do want him to grow and "recover" into a life without alcohol (or at least without the life-threatening effects). But I have been greatly repelled by the energy in the room and concepts in Al-Anon and CoDA, etc...

Any ideas? Thank you.


*"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross*

Hi LauriJean,

Thanks for the question. It's a good one. And yes, I have lots of ideas.

There are actually several answers to your question. It depends on which A.A. members we are talking about.

  1. First off, we have the rank and file A.A. members. They are not in it for the money. They may be in it for any of several other reasons:

    • A genuine desire for sobriety.

    • Ego gratification and delusions of grandeur:
      • "I am a member of the in-crowd. I am special.
      • "I am hip to the innermost wisdom of recovery. We have the panacea."
      • "I have a special relationship with God. I have a guaranteed ticket to Heaven. God loves me so much more now that I am not drinking alcohol."
      • "But I still have to go recruit 10 more newbies in order to be really holy and spiritual, and then I have to go to a zillion more meetings to indoctrinate them. That will be very pleasing to Higher Power, me getting Him more followers."

    • Fear of death: "If I leave A.A., I will relapse and die drunk in a gutter. That's what everybody here says. So I'd better play it safe and keep coming back to meetings."
      "Besides, I don't need to fear death because I have a hotline to Heaven."
      "But if I quit A.A., I will lose my ticket to Heaven."

    • Desire to be right: "Don't tell me that the 12-Step theology is bullshit and that I wasted 10 years of my life in a cult. That can't be true. I'm not that stupid."

    • Loneliness. It's a social club.

    • A feeling of being appreciated or of being "loved".

    • And then there is the mistaken belief that A.A. actually works and is necessary for maintaining sobriety.

    • And then there are the people who are neurotic or downright insane, and who just fixate on A.A. meetings as an obsession. They do from one to three meetings per day.

    • Spiritual hunger. Some people are starving for something, anything, that seems to be spiritual. Their hunger seems to be some strange combination of spiritual longing and anxiety about death. Women who suffer from this malady often turn into the "church ladies" who haunt churches. (Remember the Beatles' song, "Eleanor Rigby"?)
      A.A. has such people too, and they are determined to believe that Bill Wilson was a saint and a messenger from God, and the Big Book contains cosmic wisdom.

  2. The Predators.
    These people are totally cynical, and are just out to get something.

    The sexual predators use the meetings as meat markets. Newcomers are greedily eyed as fresh meat. Both women and attractive young men are targets.

    Some predators are financial and con their victims out of all of the money they can get. I was just reading a story about one guy who sequentially married older women A.A. members and took them for every dollar they had, and then moved on to the next city and another A.A. meeting and another victim. The anonymity of A.A. makes it easier to do.

    Some predators are on an ego trip, and want to gather an entourage of slaves (sponsees) who worship them as wise gurus.

    The predators are quite happy to maintain the cult and recruit and make people believe that A.A. really works, and they do a great job of appearing to be a wise, compassionate and caring old-timers, even though lots of the predators don't even have a drug or alcohol problem — they are just there for the sex or the money. Likewise, lots of the predators are not sober, either, and they don't have years of sobriety like they claim. They are merely good actors.

  3. The Executives.
    The members of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., make $70,000 per year. I hear that the President of A.A. makes something like $125,000 per year. Who would want to blow that cushy job that by admitting that A.A. doesn't really work?

    CORRECTION (2011.03.28): It turns out that the trustees are not paid. But other people get lots more. The President and General Manager of A.A. Greg Muth gets $125,000 from both AAWS and the GSB (General Service Board of A.A.), for a total of $250,000 per year. And then his friend Thomas Jasper gets $469,850 for being a "Senior Advisor". And many others get salaries in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 each. Look here.

  4. The Treatment Providers.
    Here is where the real money is. Treating alcoholics and drug addicts with the 12-Step cult religion is a $6.2 billion per year industry. Ninety-three percent of the treatment centers in the USA use the "12-Step model". Who would want to end such a profitable game, and give up billions of dollars, by admitting that 12-Step treatment doesn't work, and is, in fact, just expensive fraud?
    UPDATE: In 2009, The New York Times printed an article that said that the recovery industry is a $20 billion per year business in the USA.

After writing out all of that, I remembered that I answered a similar question a long time ago, here.

I hope that answers your question. I hope it hasn't given you nightmares.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
** has cured millions. RARELY HAVE we seen it fail...
** But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
** Take what you want, and leave the rest."

Date: Fri, March 17, 2006 21:56
From: BermanIsFat
Subject: (no subject)

*I almost died laughing at the level of paranoia you present. Your opening page is merely a sampling of what the reader is in for, ie; you rambling on about how AOL and Yahoo are out to get you and your hallowed works. My God. Do you really think you are that important?

Hi Fat,

Paranoia? Umm, no. When Yahoo Geocities erases a whole web site and all of the email that went to it without explanation or warning, that is a fact, not paranoia.

Likewise, when AOL blocks all email that contains a certain URL, that is a fact, not paranoia.

I bet you lay awake at night tossing and turning in your Army surplus cot waiting for the Men In Black to come busting through the pressed wood door on your rental trailer to haul you off to some re-education camp in the Catskills. I issue forth a good hearty laugh in your angry, red, bloated face. *

How much do you want to bet? How much money do you have?

* Another thing I noticed; you piss and moan about AA yet you yourself say that you've relapsed on several occasions. I bet you're chugging a bottle of Albertson's Brand Vodka as you read this mail at some Kinko's at 2 am in the morning, cursing like a sailor and motioning the clerk to come over so you drop another $5.99 to get 15 more minutes on AOL to spew some more of your angry rhetoric at the world. Give it rest, pal. Stop grinding that axe.*

Wrong again. You should learn how to read. I said that I relapsed once, 14 years ago, after 3 years of sobriety, and drank for 9 more years. "Once" is not "several occasions".

Again, you are saying "I bet". Okay, I will take you up on the bet. I can use a couple of new computers and a couple of new guitars. Even a new house. How much money do you have?

* Also, it's kind of hard to take you seriously. I mean one minute you're hollering about how AA screwed you, then you're going off on how Bush stole the election. Make up your mind, is this a book on how AA is out to screw the world or is this book supposed to present a political point? It's hard to tell the way you jump around from angry hissy fit to another. *

Unlike A.A. members, I do not hide from "outside issues". The real world is not an "outside issue".

* You misquote several items from the AA book. Not the items you made footnotes on, you can get in trouble for that and since you think Big Brother is scouring your works looking for anything that he can burn with (uh, yes, that was sarcastic, but I bet you pat yourself on the back thinking that you really have the MIB running in circles) but plenty of items you have not covered with a footnote, ie; your hissy fits, are at best, half truths (you know which ones they are). How convenient. And yes, I did some research to include reading the Big Book along with several searches on the people you mentioned (Bill Wilson, Dr Bob Wilson, etc etc), seems like a lot of your stories are just that, stories or half truths at best. *

What items are misquoted? Please be very specific.
Tell us what the error is. Give the web page name, and show what the error is, and then tell us what the real truth is, and tell where you get your information.

Here you had a whole blank computer screen where you could have cut and pasted something, anything, to show my error, and you showed nothing. What's your problem? Where is your "research"?

* Well, I better get going. I am sure you'll send one of your angry, long-winded replies. Maybe I'll get lucky and I'll get this letter posted along with the others on your axe-grinding site (hell, I bet over half them e-mails are fake, ie; you mailed them to yourself). Get a life.*

Okay, have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.
** Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done
** it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
** ye have done it unto me. (Jesus, in Matthew 25:40)

[2nd letter from Berman, which came before the first one was answered:]

Date: Sun, March 19, 2006 15:35
From: BermanIsFat
Subject: Fwd: (no subject)

* What's the matter? No response? Must be out on a weekend binge or your intro page to hand you over money to pay rent on that run down tin can you live in. Keep up the axe-grinding though after you recover from your Animal House style drinkathon. Once your "book" is finished, I can go to Best Buy, purchase about eight reams of paper and print up your piece of crap and place it next to another piece of crap (no, not your resume'...LOL!!!!!); /Mein Kampf. /That was another "book" that had plenty of axe grinding coupled with halfass ideas and rage fed temper tantrums just like your "book". Don't worry, I'll be sending more mail to you at a later date.....chump.*

Isn't it wonderful, what 12-Step religion has done to your mind?

FYI, I answer letters in the order that I receive them. You wait your turn.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the
**  same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
**     — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Date: Sat, March 18, 2006 2:41
From: "bob w."
Subject: Bill Wilson

And tell me sir, where might one find your biography? You have gone to great lengths to attack an organization which is and has been a positive force for change since 1935.

Is there such a fear of the truth in your psyche that you feel it necessary to attack anyone who embraces spirituality while in the throes of despair?

Hi Bob,

Why would you want to read my biography?

Are you imagining that if you can find fault with me, that it will mean that Bill Wilson didn't lie so much, or didn't steal so much money, or didn't seduce so many sick A.A. women, or didn't sell a fascist cult religion as a cure for alcoholism?

Sorry, but that won't wash. Bill Wilson was a criminal and a heartless creep, a phony holy man and a cult leader, no matter who or what I am.

And his quack cure for alcoholism still does not work.

But if you really are curious, I have written bits of biographical stuff here and there.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, March 19, 2006 9:49
From: "Cassandra S."
Subject: Thank You

Dear sir,

I just wanted to write a note to let you know how much I appreciate your website.

My sister was forced into AA as a result of a DUI and we successfully sued to free her from it.

I am in the process of sending a mailing to every church on the list she was given that sponsors AA meetings in their buildings, and your website has been an invaluable source.

While I cannot force any Christian to accept the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous, I can certainly plant the seed.

Thank you for doing what you can to help others see this "wolf in sheep's clothing" for what it is.

With sincere thanks,

A fan

Hi Cassandra,

Thanks for the thanks. That really makes my day.

Just spreading the word is very important. The giant advantage that A.A. has is 70 years of proselytizing and spreading rumors and hear-say, fooling the average people into thinking that A.A. is a great organization. Spreading the truth at the grass-roots level is essential to counter-act that.

So thanks again for your work.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Important principles may, and must, be inflexible."
** == Abraham Lincoln

Date: Sun, March 19, 2006 9:45
From: friendofbillw
Subject: dude!

Since you are anonymous, so shall I be too. I am the webmaster for Central Office AA Atlanta, and if it were up to me, I would link our AA site directly to yours!

I deal often with intelligent drunks who reject AA slogans, and you have given me a resource of huge value. Of course I can't share this with too many in the program, or they will run me off. (Since they are no longer judgemental, you know)

Thanks again, you are a gift from my higher power (Magilla Gorilla and all of his friends) and I hope you are staying well, and the hell with AOL and all those narrow minded nazi types. Of course, I have learned that whatever keeps ya sober, is fine with me!

Thanks again for your web-site. I hope I have encouraged you. My stomach turns when I hear some zombie say that the Big Book was inspired by God, as if this email wasn't. But I have come to accept those people, to appreciate you, and to stay sober for two years now.

THANK YOU JESUS ( and Magilla, and his friends, and the magical mystical speey lube oil change team in the sky, and that doorknob over there, and ....)

bill s

Hi Bill,

Thanks for all of the flattering comments, and a laugh.

We aim to please...

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Sun, March 19, 2006 19:24
From: Madame Senga
Subject: AA'ers as Cat Owners etc.

Hey AO,

I saw you quoted me after one of your signatures. Cool. I'm flattered.

Hi Madame Senga,

Nice to hear from you again. And that's a good line:

** "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

I was noodling around on the net today and found the website


by Rick Ross. Extensive as it was, there was no mention of 12Step!! At least not that I could find, even using the on-site search engine specifically for that website. So I sent an enlightening email and I mentioned your website. Hope thats ok.The more we all help to get the word out the better.

Oh yeh, more than okay. There are a few people who just don't see things the same way as we do, especially because they have never been in Alcoholics Anonymous, or had any experience with it. Rick Ross, Steven Hassan, and Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer come to mind as three cult experts who never quite realized that A.A. more than qualifies as a cult. I keep trying to tell them...

There is a discussion of Prof. Singer's remarks about A.A. in one of her books, in the bibliography, here, where she declared that she didn't consider A.A. a cult. Alas, we can't change her mind, because she died of old age recently.

But Ross and Hassan are still fair game for enlightenment.

Here's a humorous tidbit for you I just remembered: (You're gonna love this!) When i came into AA I heard there were some AA'ers who owned cats and — are you ready for this? I hope you're sitting down! — they never gave their cats catnip. Catnip was a DRUG and they didn't want to drug their cats, they didn't think it was right to make their cats "high". I'm not kidding. Not all AA'er of course, but some die hards, they thought it was wrong. I don't make these things up.

I love it. We can't be letting Tabby have too good of a time, now can we?

It's funny how Bill Wilson declared that A.A. members should not go on tirades against the alcohol industry. And they shouldn't hassle "normal" drinkers. They should just mind their own business and pay attention to their own problems.

But here we have some killjoys who don't even want to let a cat get a buzz on.

Sort of sounds like sour grapes grumbling, doesn't it?

Have been checking out your mail bag since I last wrote. My heart really goes out to the people who get trapped in 12step via the coercion of the legal/medical/gov system. I was particularly moved by Josie's "Treatment Story". Thanks to 12Step there is a real specific prejudice and narrow view of the alcoholic/addict that is almost worse than the prejudice prior to AA! You're pigeonholed with one "profile" (a nasty one) and one solution(a creepy one). I worry even for my friends who drink normally one or two drinks with dinner.I tell them 'don't ever get pulled over, if you get the wrong cop, the wrong judge, the wrong caseworker — you are going to be forced to attend The Cult in this state, and it could haunt you for a long time'. I also agree with what another writer wrote in: "this philosophy has infiltrated our very core as a society" — I call us the OprahChopra Culture. No one is responsible for anything any more. No accountability.

It also really bothers me when a therapist recommends 12Step. I think there should be full disclosure if they are AA members because that is a conflict of interest in my opinion.

Absolutely YES.

As an example: a transgender woman I knew had been sober /on her own/ for 2 years (since her operation) but still suffered some depression as she adjusted. Her therapist recommended she check out AA.

My question is, Why? If the woman was sober on her own — and clearly her coming to terms with her sexual identity was at the heart of her former heavy drinking — then she didn't even fit AA's definition of a "true alcoholic' (one who can't quit on their own).

Ah but I think that counselor gave herself away, by praising the women of AA as "good strong women" (not true in my experience!). I told this transgender woman "only another member praises its own like that; blows its own horn. I'll bet your therapist is a member." Because in my mind, that's the only way a professional like that could dismiss all the rest of what this woman was still processing. That's scarey to me, I know more than one woman with a "pro-AA" therapist — and they're all a dependent mess. Years of therapy and they still can't think for themselves. That's not right.

No joke. A therapist who has a hidden agenda is not a therapist. They might be a recruiter, or an evangelist, or a proselytizer, but they aren't a competent therapist.

Like many who've recently quit I still struggle with the scars and the crap in my head. I thought it would be easier since I "know" better but it's a slow process and I just try to accept that. Not long ago I had some symptoms I thought sure were — gasp! — heart problems and then I realized I'd been having feelings of personal doom for a while (not to be confused with my feelings of political doom, I can distinguish).

I researched and realized my symptoms were minor ones related to my menapause but you see — they got to me. "You'll die if you leave us!" (AA) and I'm overweight (OA: "You'll overeat and have medical complications!") Fear, fear fear. You can't survive without us!

My conscious side gets it but the subconscious is still slightly indoctrinated. I just wanted to pass that on, so people know that can happen, don't freak out. Sit down with the indoctrinated "inner child" and calm it down. I honestly had to tell mine, "You're not dying sweety!" and pump her up a bit.

Also: someone wrote in about how hard is to make new friends — YES! It is. There is such a lack of trust once you've been through this sort of thing. At least for a while, until the wounds heal. It comes from experience and also observing what happens to others in the program and why they get shunned or fall off the map or stabbed in the back by smiling members. (In truth there is a lot of high and mighty "back stabbing") One of my community's members was always trying to be "in service"; he tried so hard. Maybe he was a little unusual but... when he fell on financial hard times and wound up a recluse... over time the jokes got worse and worse and more unkind. Everyone forgot his service and only remembered all his peculiarities. It was heart breakingly cruel. They gossiped and made fun of how poorly he coped.

One old timer even went so far as to say he thought this man, so n so, was "the sickest member in all of AA". Why? Because he was too quiet and didn't know how to communicate. This said by an old timer who knows full well AA is full of wife beaters, pedophiles, etc. He still said that about this poor recluse).

Even if reaching out to him didn't work (and I don't think there was much reaching out on AA's part) there was no need to be so unkind. But that's AA for you, the love is not unconditional (there's no such thing!)

As part of getting over my indoctrination, you cannot imagine how good it felt recently to tell one close AA friend or two how much I hated my two former best friends in AA. And how I will never forgive them their years of off-and-on emotional abuse. Why bother? "Forgiveness" is so taken for granted in that community it insures no change in behavior. From any of them.

And I'm sick of feeling guilty if I have anger because someone abused me. If I had really slammed those high maintainance Stepperville Bitches hard every time they got demanding, controlling or cruel it might have done them some good! But they knew to expect unconditional forgiveness while they kept dishing out unconditonal abuse, so...

Anyway, I know if I hang on, things get better. New and better horizons appear. So for anyone else whose just left: HANG IN THERE. Thanks AO.

Sorry I keep writing you these novels but I love this website and its been such a help. I really appreciate all you've done for all of us. Thanks.

Madame Senga

Don't apologize for the length, it's okay. And I'm sure that there are other people who can relate to what you are going through, and it might help them to go through it too.

Thanks for the letter, and 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
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Last updated 15 December 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters40.html