Letters, We Get Mail, CDXV

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Ginny_H ]

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:42:38 +0100 (09/26/2014 09:42:38 AM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
From: Ginny H.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Love your site

Hi Terrance,

After first coming across the Orange Papers last year, I am now impelled to write to you in gratitude and appreciation for your persistent commitment to freedom and truth and your clear dedication to enlightened moral imperatives to stand up for such truths on behalf of your fellows.

I write from England, and have experience of AA here and in Germany.

Practically my entire emotional and intellectual life has been overshadowed and twisted by the doctrines of AA since my father was "12th-stepped" when I was 15 years old. I am now 61, and regret that I was unable to detect and break free from the AA mythology until coming across your website and your writings. Every time I have got into trouble with booze over the past 40 years I have attended AA meetings because of my father's example, mainly to avoid the "yets". No doctor or psychiatrist ever diagnosed me as alcoholic, but the fear was there that I had inherited dad's alcoholism. So I bought into the disease theory. My first stretch in AA lasted two years until its anti-intellectualism and religiosity drove me out. I was also not convinced that I would never be able to drink alcohol "normally" again. And indeed I spent the next 16 years drinking without extreme loss of control until 1993, when repeated blackouts recommenced. So I joined AA again and this time stuck it out for 7 years. During this time the conflict between AA's "philosophy" and my then well-developed intellectual ideas was very hard to bear, but I did not know of any other way to stay sober and desperately wanted to stay sober for my children's sake. I became depressed and disillusioned (and also extremely bored) by meeting attendance and all the rest and eventually decided that I would rather risk dying of alcoholism than leading such a sad shallow life.

So back on the booze again. This lasted four years till I went back crying to AA, again because there just seemed nowhere else to go.

Another four year stint in AA (this time in Germany, where there are no "star speakers" and sponsorship is not practiced.)

Then back on the booze again. Back to England and still not one doctor or other professional had diagnosed alcoholism or any alcohol-related disorders in me. Nor have I ever been in trouble with the law, lost a job or any of the other extreme stuff through drunkenness. With me it was just embarrassing behaviour when drunk, and hating feeling unwell all the time.

Still the fear drove me back to AA yet again. I "joined" my local groups back in December 2012. Was prepared to mouth all the usual sayings and "fake it to make it". But here is the interesting thing: After reading your fantastically well-documented and excellently argued writings, EVEN THOUGH I actually told no-one in the meetings that I was reading them, something about the nature of my "sharing" seemed to get the backs up the older members straight off. I have been treated with almost unbelievable rudeness and hostility over the last 18 months, and this hostility is increasing almost to a crescendo as I "refuse to toe the party line" and continue to resist the pressures to conform.

I will document some of this cult-like hostility to the "outsider" as I have experienced it over the last 18 months:

  • 1) In the first weeks I was told that my sharing was "inappropriate", and a specific member took it upon herself to physically prevent me speaking to other newcomers. (Looking back I can see that I was naively being too honest, and because I was obviously living proof that leaving AA did not lead to insanity or death in my case, the message was really not popular with those whose lives revolve around their (self-perceived) "higher status" in AA as old-timers).

  • 2) When I assumed a "service" position making refreshments the treasurer made it very difficult for me to claim for the costs. When I tried to raise this in a group conscience I was reacted to like a troublemaker.

  • 3) Although the group where I was doing service is one that believes in issuing sobriety chips, I was never given one.

  • 4) One time when I went to make the tea, going early as usual, the door was actually locked on me!

  • 5) When I tried to speak privately to the meeting secretary, with the aim of building bridges and being friendly, she rounded on me and accused me in very offensive words and body language of being mad. When I replied "talk about the pot calling the kettle black..." she ran off and told her sponsor and others that I had told her to "fuck off". The irony is, I am an English teacher and actually very rarely use such language, and certainly did not use it then.

  • 6) The result was, in my absence the group "voted" to put up a sign in the meeting room saying that offensive behaviour would not be tolerated. This was obviously aimed at me. The secretary giggled about it next time I attended, saying that such offenders would be "thrown out of the meeting".

  • 7) Contemporaneously, I started finding myself shunned and cold-shouldered at nearly every other meeting I attended.

  • 8) Shortly after this, I moved home and this gave me the excuse to cease attendance at my former home group. I started attending one close to my new home and the secretary and others were really friendly for a week or so UNTIL the secretary of my former home group was invited to do a chair. The atmosphere in the meeting changed completely. She must have told them her version of events in exaggerated terms, because after that the secretary in this new group and other established regulars in the meeting started treating me as if I were an undesirable alien.

  • 9) Gritting my teeth, I continued to attend this meeting. I went to the last one earlier this week. One of the older members, an AA hard-liner who has really had it in for me for months, started fulminating about how lazy members are. (I had asked for help the week before putting literature away).

  • 10)<DEEP SIGH> I am now sitting here having made a decision that has taken a huge burden from my shoulders. I have decided I do not need to go to these stinking meetings ever again. There is another way for me to go, and still live without booze if that is my choice. Furthermore, I am no longer willing to assist in tyranny, however mild. One of the quotes you posted earlier this year has been a great help to me:

    **     "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
    **     its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
    **     blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
    **        ==  Dresden James

My story is rather long, and I can only hope that this summary is coherent enough to be of help to others caught in the same trap of thinking there is no alternative to AA for those who have a problem with alcohol.

By the way, my spirituality is a kind of refined atheism — I am in awe of the spirit of the universe, the sap rising in trees, how birds migrate, the pulse of nature. I am sure this "power" is inside me along with a strong instinct to survive and enjoy life. And contact with people like you and others finding and practising alternatives to AA is a huge resource and support.

Thanks, Ginny H. (East Sussex, UK)

Hello Ginny,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm adding this letter to the list of A.A. Horror Stories. I wish I could say that your story was unusual, but it isn't. Everything that you have described happens again and again.

Welcome to freedom. I can imagine that you feel pretty burned right now, but I'm sure that it's good that you are out. A rather famous dirty old Englishman, Oscar Wilde, wrote, "My dear, you have just learned something, although right now it feels like you just lost something."

[Correction: Oscar Wilde was Irish.]

This rings so true:

After reading your fantastically well-documented and excellently argued writings, EVEN THOUGH I actually told no-one in the meetings that I was reading them, something about the nature of my "sharing" seemed to get the backs up the older members straight off. I have been treated with almost unbelievable rudeness and hostility over the last 18 months, and this hostility is increasing almost to a crescendo as I "refuse to toe the party line" and continue to resist the pressures to conform.

Thanks for the lavish compliments, but what I'm really referring to is the fact that the die-hard cult members seem to have a 6th sense that detects when someone is thinking for herself, and it sets off all of their alarm bells. "Ooops!!! That one is waking up! She is dangerous!" It might be as simple as the fact that you start using your own words, rather than repeating slogans all of the time. It might be that you start to have a tone of knowledge in your voice, and you start to sound like you know what you are talking about. And you know things that you shouldn't know. The Guardians of Conformity are very sensitive to such signs.

It reminds me of the line in the Beatles' movie Yellow Submarine where the Big Blue Finger looked suspiciously at the Lads from Liverpool: "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish..." (And you don't act Bluish either.)

By the way, about you not really being an alcoholic, another recent letter described the same problem. That woman went to A.A. for years, and was repeatedly told that she was an alcoholic and would die without A.A., and on and on, but it turned out that she wasn't an alcoholic at all. She just had a thyroid disorder that made her react badly to alcohol. See:


I have also received several stories about devoted A.A. members who aren't alcoholics, and who never actually drank to excess. They just love the cult as a lifestyle. For example, see the story of Dale here: "I know that in all probability, Dale drank only once in his entire life."

And see

.....She said, "Don't beat yourself up too much. A real long-standing alcohol problem often takes a lot of repeated attempts to conquer. In my opinion, the few people who you witnessed go to A.A. and get magically cured after their first meeting or two probably didn't have much of any kind of addiction to start with".

"As much as they might be lauded as 'successes', they probably didn't have much of a problem to recover from" she emphasized.

It gets me to wondering how many "real alcoholics" there actually are in A.A. And how many "recovered alcoholics"? Not as many as you might think. Several correspondents have commented that a lot of the hard-core oldtimers who brag about their many years of sobriety are not really alcoholics, so of course it's easy for them to not drink alcohol. And it's very easy for the 12 Steps to cure non-alcoholics of "alcoholism".

It's also rather unfortunate that if you go to A.A. for advice about "alcoholism", you might just get misinformed and abused by someone who isn't an alcoholic, and who never was, and who never had to recover from alcohol abuse, so they don't know what they are talking about.

Oh well, have a good day anyway, and welcome to freedom.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    To have freedom is only to have what is absolutely necessary to enable
**    us to be what we ought to be, and to possess what we ought to possess.
**      ==  Rahel
**     The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives
**     enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and virtues.
**       ==  William Ellery Channing (1780—1842), Amer. Unit. Clergy 
**     The common dogma [of fundamentalists] is fear of modern knowledge,
**     inability to cope with the fast change in a scientific-technological
**     society, and the real breakdown in apparent moral order in recent
**     years.... That is why hate is the major fuel, fear is the cement of
**     the movement, and superstitious ignorance is the best defense against
**     the dangerous new knowledge. ... When you bring up arguments that cast
**     serious doubts on their cherished beliefs you are not simply making a
**     rhetorical point, you are threatening their whole Universe and their
**     immortality.  That provokes anger and quite frequently violence. ...
**     Unfortunately you cannot reason with them and you even risk violence
**     in confronting them. Their numbers will decline only when society
**     stabilizes, and adapts to modernity.
**         ==  G. Gaia

September 07, 2014, Sunday, downtown Portland Oregon:

Bridges on the Willamette River
There are three bridges visible in the picture. In the foreground is the Hawthorne Bridge. Behind that is the Morrison Bridge, and way in the background is the Burnside Bridge.

Hawthorne Bridge
Hawthorne Bridge
This is the view from the other side of the Hawthorne Bridge. There are also three bridges visible in this picture. Behind the Hawthorne Bridge is the Marquam Bridge, and a new bridge, a suspension bridge, called the "Tillicum Bridge", is barely visible in the lower left-hand corner.

Marquam Bridge
The Marquam and Tillicum and Ross Island Bridges

Burnside Bridge
The Burnside Bridge
They don't make'em like that any more.

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Wroger ]

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:59:39 +1000 (09/28/2014 04:59:39 PM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
From: Wroger
To: [email protected]
Subject: (For Publishing)

How to deal with sleazy "trusted servants" in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

I and my imaginary friend in low earth orbit, decided to hold an anniversary for our group.

The 26th anniversary to be exact — which also by coincidence, matches my years of being drug free.

So I sent in a flyer announcing it, for the local state wide AA (and NA) publication to disperse it like the seed of our loving higher power into Mary's womb.

I include issues such as these:

Includes Key Note Speakers and Topics.

Does the Fellowship have a future? Declining Membership, AAWSO staying afloat only through literature sales. AAWSO (corporation) sues members for republishing out of copyright AA first editions.1]

Does your group run afoul of the Trade Practices Act for promoting religion guised as "spirituality"? 2]

Multi-Fellowship Attendance — by a member active in 15 fellowships.

Are Fellowships legally liable for the illegal actions of their trusted servants? 3]

Emotional Health vs. AA's version of Sobriety.

  • 1] http://gsowatch.aamo.info/
  • 2] In Griffin v. Coughlin, Judge Levine, writing for the court's majority, concluded that the AA program is devoted to proselytizing for a religious belief. & s52 TPA 'likely to mislead or deceive"
  • 3] Houghton v Arms [2006] HCA 59

Usually this guy publishes and sends the meeting notices out within a day or two of receipt and 2 weeks go past — no announcement is made — so I ring the guy.

I ask him, "Why have you not published the flyer yet?"

He says, "Oh I thought that you didn't want anything to do with AA any more."

Then he promptly hangs up and flicks his phone to voice mail.....

A week or two go past and I think "All the other anniversaries get published within a day or so of being received by this guy — but not this one, from me. This guy is being dishonest and evasive, and we must address the issues of "trusted servants" being untrustworthy...."

So I email him:

"We are going to have to meet and discuss the excuse that you have used for not publishing the anniversary meeting.

I don't like slipperyness, evasiveness and I don't like dealing with what amounts to lying.



He replies:

"If you are holding an event, the best idea is to get one of the other members of your group to send the details."

So I think he started off avoiding the issue — by dodging it, when cornered — he lies his way out of it, and when he put on the spot — like a personal confrontation about your dishonesty is in order, he resorts to playing "Go Fetch" — as he tosses bones in different directions...

Yeah as if I am going to take the bait......

So I message him back:

There are two things I won't do Mr D.

1. I won't put up with shit from a lying cunt — like yourself.

2. Nor will I be fucked around by a lying cunt, like what your trying on with me.

Shouldn't you be changing your moniker from AA = Alcoholics Anonymous, to AA = Arseholes Anonymous.

It would suit you better.




The lying and the bullshit and the cover ups... Like in having asked for the books to be professionally and independently audited resulted in the sleazes who like to run NA in Australia — they wiped all my meetings off the meetings lists.

And AA — that is so fucking corrupt — when we raised the issue of the "central office" in Richmond, telling groups that if they sign up with them, they will receive public liability insurance, but the paperwork from the insurance company said only the office and it's contents was insured...

The secretary of the AA general service office in Australia, wrote to the phone company telling them to take my number out as the contact for my local meeting.

And you get the local small town politics — corrupt councillors and all their sleazy buddies in the Lions Club and the Rotary Club, and the Uniting and Catholic churches — who are all so incestiously intertwined — that they are corresponding with the same NA area service committee whose members refuse to get the books audited and the AA service office, that is issuing false certificates, etc...

And these clubs are filled with piss heads and idiots...... The same people on the same committees, that keep voting each other in for citizen of the year....

Everything is fucking rigged and tampered with....

And the crap just keeps right on going....

There are some people in AA and NA that I do trust implicitly — but many of them are just drug fucked idiots, arseholes and scammers — benefiting from the bullshit of a cult based environment.





"Oh Benson. Dear Benson. You are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence."

Hello Wroger,

Thanks for the laugh. Of course it isn't all that funny — it's sad that an organization that was supposed to be a self-help group is really about conformity, corruption, and hiding the truth.

It isn't just happening in Australia. In Toronto, Canada, the A.A. Intergroup delisted and erased all meetings of the local atheist A.A. groups from their directory, claiming that their atheist version of the 12 Steps violated some standard.

I think that, as an organization, they are slowly killing themselves. People are not so stupid that they won't eventually notice what is going on. And then they vote with their feet, and leave. The A.A. membership is shrinking. So here in the USA, they use coercive recruiting and deceptive recruiting to try to keep their numbers up.

Our American President Abraham Lincoln had a great line: "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

A.A./N.A. should learn that.

Should we even mention the jabber about "rigorous honesty" on page 59 of the Big Book?

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Important principles may, and must, be inflexible."
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln
**     "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of
**     any man I know."
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
**     "I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads
**     and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those
**     of any other class."
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln
**     "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it
**     attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a
**     crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes
**     a blow at the very principle upon which our government was founded."
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln, 1840
**     Here's an object more of dread
**     Than aught the grave contains —
**     A human form with reason fled,
**     While wretched life remains.
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln, letter to Andrew Johnson, Sept. 6, 1846.
**     It has been my experience that people who have no vices
**      have very few virtues.
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln
**     "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
**        ==  Abraham Lincoln
**     "You cannot help people permanently by doing for them
**     what they could and should do for themselves."
**        == Abraham Lincoln
**     So much for the A.A. "Higher Power" quitting
**     drinking for you and keeping you sober.
**     So much for staying in A.A. for the rest of your life and
**     counting on Alcoholics Anonymous to keep you sober.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Shelly_B ]

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:23:21 -0400 (09/27/2014 07:23:21 AM)     (answered 8 October 2014)
From: Shelly B.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: gingershwill

hello! Just checking regarding my registration on orange papers.

Just so you know, I am a former AA member who left the program approximately 3 years ago, and just started researching AA to make sense of that 7 years of my life (that began with six months of compulsory attendance). The more I read & put together, the more I am convinced that this program and its place in the recovery community is all wrong.

Thank you for your service in compiling & synthesizing all of this information.

I'd really like to start chatting with people in the forums! I'm tired of lurking (though it's very educational) :)


Hello Shelly,

Thanks for the compliments, and sorry about the delay in getting your registration approved. I've been having major computer problems which I finally got pretty much fixed. So now I should be able to get caught up on approving registrations for the forum.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To err is human; to really screw things up requires a computer.

September 07, 2014, Sunday, downtown Portland Oregon:

Union Station
Union Station tower. A blast from the past.

Union Station
Union Station
This is a very old style of train station. It doubled as a hotel. It's large.

Union Station
Union Station

Union Station
Union Station

[The story of the birds continues here.]

BLOG NOTE: 2014.10.20:

Well, here it is, another year gone by, and now I have 14 years off of alcohol and drugs. And in 3 more weeks, it will also be 14 years off of cigarettes and tobacco in any form.

Obviously, those angry Steppers who predicted that I would relapse real soon now were wrong. "You will still relapse. Somebody with a resentment as big as yours can't help but go back out." But it didn't happen.

(So now they claim that I was never really an alcoholic, because Real Alcoholics cannot quit drinking without A.A....)

Hey, and guess what? I just beat the record in the Big Book for someone who stayed sober without "working the Steps":

He stayed "dry" for thirteen years! Dr. Bob often said that it was a record for what he felt was a typical alcoholic.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter B8, "From Farm to City", by Ethel M., page 263.

Oh well, have a good day anyway. I shall.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Starmom ]

Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2014 22:16:47 -0500 (10/17/2014 08:16:47 PM)     (answered 21 October 2014)
From: Starmom
To: Orange <[email protected]>


This email address didn't work the last time, but will try again.

If you receive this, can you pop over to the forum and let us know you're o.k.? Some of us have been worried about your long absence...


Hello Starmom,

Thanks for your concern. Happily, I am quite alright. I've been hurting, and dragging ass, but I'm okay. My sciatica and bad back have really been bothering me. A friend says that it is because of the weather. It has suddenly become autumn, cool and rainy. Summer is over, except for a few welcome last gasps of sunshine and warm days.

To get online, I still have to load my computer on my aching back and ride my bicycle in the rain to the library, because I don't have an Internet connection at my house. (I refuse to pay the cable company $100 a month for TV commercials and poor data communications.)

So when it's raining out and my back is aching, that kind of kills the enthusiasm for going to the library. So I've been missing a lot of days of getting there. But I'm getting caught up on things anyway. Sorry about the people who have been patiently waiting to get approved for the forum. I'll get them approved ASAP.

Don't worry about me. The person that I worry about is a friend with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Now he really has a problem. He would trade places with me any day.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be careful about reading health books.
**     You may die of a misprint.
**           ==  Mark Twain (1835 — 1910)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Susan_S ]

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:31:14 -0500 (10/13/2014 06:31:14 PM)     (answered 21 October 2014)
From: Susan S.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Sponsor/12-Step Troubles


Perhaps I am writing to you for both of the following reasons:

  • 1. In hopes that a newcomer to a 12-step program will read about my experience and proceed with caution. To go into the program with the realization that they are vulnerable and perhaps impressionable after first getting clean.

  • 2. The need for catharsis after experiencing what I did in NA. Telling my story may make me feel better about moving on from the program and to heal from some of the anger and pain it has caused me.

I'll begin by saying that today I am clean for 200 days. Long story short, I left the hospital newly sober and desperate for support and to be around those to whom I could relate. As soon as I felt physically well enough to leave my apartment, I began to go to the NA meeting down the street. I also went to several others nearby to see what others were like. It was exciting and rejuvenating at first.

It's not so much the program itself that was so discouraging, it was really the people that I had met, a couple of which I asked to sponsor me and to whom I made myself vulnerable. It seems that it's much easier to be open and malleable when you haven't completely regained your wits about you and are not thinking clearly just yet. After waking up from the brain-washing of drugs, I then had to also be startled out of the brain-washing from "the program."

I met my first sponsor within the first couple of weeks of attending meetings. At first, I felt that this relationship was a positive one for me and would be helpful. Her suggestions and ways were all very strange:

  • 1. Though I had no income to pay for a lot of gas, she tried to pressure me into driving far out to every single meeting that she attended in her area, though I had several meetings within only a ten minutes' drive from where I lived. When I objected, she replied that I should decide what is more important — my recovery or spending gas money (that I did not have in the first place)? Did I really have to attend every single meeting with her in order to stay clean? Nope, so I stuck to my own meetings.

  • 2. She would invite me to come over to her house to talk about recovery or go over my assignments. When I arrived, I would see that what she really wanted was someone to tag along while she did all of her mundane errands and then ignore me by being on/off the phone with her boyfriend the entire time (even though she lived with him).

  • 3. Her behavior with her boyfriend with whom she was with for only a year at the time was extremely co-dependent. She literally only attended NA in order to hold onto him even though he was sleeping with someone else. She also would tell me about his wandering eye and texts about meeting up with other girls that he would try to hide from her by deleting. Now she's knocked up by him and I really fear for this kid's future. She has no skills, education, or income of her own.

  • 4. She told me to move out of the apartment that I share with my husband and into a recovery home even though my husband is not an addict and we have a good relationship. She told me on two different occasions to call her every single day (whether or not there was anything to talk about) and attend 90 meetings in 90 days. If I didn't call her, she'd call me and I felt harassed. There was one time that I did call her for support during a difficult day, but she said that she needed to call me back. When she did, she explained that she was in Walmart, fighting with her boyfriend because he wanted to choose his own tie instead of a tie she wanted him to wear so that it would match her dress. I thought, "Well that is was a dire emergency."

  • 5. Her advice for any difficulty was to "say the Serenity Prayer." Digging really deep there to help someone.

  • 6. She openly admitted to me that she would call her sponsor when she needed advice and if she didn't get the answer she wanted, she'd call other people that she knew would cosign on her bullshit instead of telling her when she was being irrational. Great example for a sponsee who is striving for "honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness."

After a few weeks of that, my head was clear enough that I realized that I was not getting anything from this relationship. This relationship was about her, feeding her ego and codependent needs. So I ended up meeting and choosing sponsor #2. Again, at first, it was great. She was definitely a lot more emotionally healthy than the first one and seemed to have her own mind apart from the program instead of being a robot who only spit out the catchphrases.

  • 1. Since leaving the hospital, I was searching for a new job and going to interviews. I stopped at one point because of an ongoing health issue and the discovery of a new one. I needed to devote time to tests, doctor visits, specialist visits, getting referrals, fixing errors made by insurance company, etc. After things calmed down a bit, I revisited the job search. I was told by this sponsor that "God won't give you a job this time around either because you are not ready for one." I objected, stating that other people with less than 6 months of clean time have gotten jobs and that doesn't necessarily mean that it made them relapse. The fact that she was basically making a judgement on God's behalf really disgusted me. It felt like she wanted me to stay stagnant and then do what? Sit around all day praying and reading the book?

  • 2. I was told that the reason I "wouldn't be given a job" (by God, not by an employer) yet, was because my self-worth is too tied to money. I responded that I just wanted to help my husband pay the bills and put food on the table. He is just beginning his career and not earning much yet. It's called survival and eating. Also, I've spent a lot of money on school and would like to use my education and be a productive member of society again. I've worked since I was 14 and it is empowering for me. If we're talking about self-worth, what is better for self-worth than to be doing "stuff" with one's life?

  • 3. She, who is quite overweight, discouraged me from getting back to the gym and instead told me to introduce only a small change, like eating an apple. What makes one feel better than being in good physical health and experience mood-boosting endorphins? Why would you tell someone not to exercise, especially if they put on a few pounds while getting clean and would like to feel better about how they look and feel?

  • 4. Was told that I relied too much on my intelligence and too much of my self-worth was based upon it. How does one simply get rid of a drive for knowledge? Isn't curiosity something to be fostered? So now I should regret that I have a brain, deem it a useless organ for the time being, and put it on a shelf? Is that so that I can remain impressionable enough to be completely brainwashed by the program, therefore making her successful in her role as sponsor/indoctrinator? Ooooh slow down with that critical thinking.

    This last experience with this second sponsor was enough to make me completely re-evaluate what the hell I was doing and to make me realize that all I've gotten from the program is discouragement and some faulty reflection of who I supposedly am from someone who has known me for only a few weeks. It has seemed that she really did not want me to get well emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and was more comfortable with me being in a role of inferiority to her so that I could be better controlled. It has made me feel that there is no way that I can reindoctrinate myself into this program if that means that I MUST have a sponsor and I MUST pretend that I believe in all of the dogma, which is precisely why I have resisted organized religion since I was about 13.

Lastly, I plan to try a SMART meeting, because I do like the idea of community and building supportive relationships with others. Not being required to designate a babysitter, oops sorry, I meant "sponsor," to judge you and make decisions for you is something I'm convinced would work much better for me. The fact that discussion is "allowed" in this group is also attractive to me. Sitting in NA meetings has felt that I'm just hearing a litany of "sales pitches" about the program. I tired of hearing the number of members who supposedly went from being atheist to intensely religious. It's just not going to happen for me because my mind is not nimble enough to do the mental gymnastics that would be required.

Sorry that this was so long. Thank you for "listening." I'd just like to share it and perhaps connect with others who were scared away from the "Anonymous" clubs, but are staying clean on their own.


Hello Susan,

Thank you for the letter. And congratulations on your 200 days clean. Those are the hardest days. It gets easier as time passes.

I'm sorry to hear about all of your difficulties with sponsors. It just goes to show that using old addicts and alcoholics as counselors is fraught with dangers.

There is actually no training program for sponsors, nor final exam, nor degree. Nor a Board of Examiners to review cases of abuse or ethics violations. Nor is there any sanity test or sanity requirement. Yes, sponsors can be batshit crazy. A sponsor can be anyone who claims to have some clean and/or sober time (like 3 years or more), and who feels like being a sponsor. (And note that the prospective sponsors only have to claim to be clean and sober. Nobody tests them to see if it's true.)

About this:

She told me to move out of the apartment that I share with my husband and into a recovery home even though my husband is not an addict and we have a good relationship.

They sure do like to break up marriages, don't they? That is inexcusable. Psychology Today magazine reported that A.A. members have a 25% divorce rate in just the first year of A.A. membership. It's easy to see why when they pull stunts like that on you.

Also, moving you into a "recovery home" is the standard cult stunt of isolating the new recruits from outside influences, which makes it easier for the cult to indoctrinate and convert newcomers. (See the description of A.A. doing that here.)

Later addition: Also beware of things like this: "her sponsor forbid her from seeing me for thirty days... and at the end of the 30 days I was told by my now ex that I could never talk to her again". That is one result of isolation in a "sober home".

The idea that God won't give you a job because your "self-worth is too tied to money" is nuts. Does "God" really micromanage the world and control everything down to whether you can get a job? Is God giving Ebola to the African people this month because they love life too much?

This is very harmful:

Was told that I relied too much on my intelligence and too much of my self-worth was based upon it.

They want to destroy your self-confidence and cripple your ability to think for yourself. They will constantly yammer about how you have to "stop your stinkin' thinkin'", and "abandon Reason and just have Faith". And "get rid of ego", which means, stop feeling like you have some self-worth and self-respect, just feel degraded and stupid and "surrender" (to them). They consider it very bad if you are proud to have some intelligence and a working mind, so they will try to undo it. That is really harmful to your mental well-being. That is not recovery.

Going to SMART is a good idea. It's a whole different world. No sponsors, no dogma, you don't have to believe anything other than the idea that it is in your power to improve your life.

I'm adding your letter to the list of A.A. Horror Stories.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Julia_H ]

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:38:17 +0100 (10/13/2014 03:38:17 PM)     (answered 21 October 2014)
From: julia h.
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: approval of application

hello there again, i applied for permission of approval to access your website earlier this evening, and just thought i would send this email in allowing you to understand better why i have asked to gain entrance. I myself was a member of AA and attended meetings regularly from 2003 to 2009. I done very well getting a sponsor and working the steps. I had been sober for 3 years after having difficulty in staying sober the first 3 years but when i got a sponsor and started work on the steps i did stay sober for 3 years, until i met a man who was 25 years sober. that is when REAL FEAR started. I thought that because he was sober for such a long time, that he was safe to date and having been told by another member of AA that he was 'a nice man' after making enquiries about him, i went ahead and dated him. It was the biggest and most regretful time of my life. I soon afterwards realized he was absolutely off his rocker, and when i told him i no longer wanted to see him he started stalking me, repeatedly phoned me, after i had told him to leave me alone, he threw eggs at my living room window one evening scaring me to death as i live on my own, and i became very frightened, and i stopped going to AA because of this, and guess what, after 5 years of no AA meetings i'm not dead after all. i love your website.

P.S.: I would like to add that whilst i am still alive, my stalker died. 'God's Revenge?'

Hello Julia,

Thanks for the story and the compliments, and I'll approve your membership as soon as I can. And I'm glad to hear that you are still alive, in spite of no A.A. meetings in 5 years. (Coincidentally, I just got 14 years of sobriety yesterday, and I haven't been to an A.A. meeting in almost 13 years. Those meetings aren't very necessary, are they?)

Your story is the second A.A. horror story that I got today. (The other one is here.)

I am reminded of the report from three psychiatrists and psychologists who analyzed the A.A. membership and found that 90% of them were mentally unhealthy. They ranged from merely neurotic all the way up to full-blown psychotic. And those are the people who are supposed to help you to create a wonderful new life?

What a nightmare. Calling it a "Self-help group" is really stretching the English language.

Lastly, I shouldn't say that I'm glad to hear that your stalker is dead. Schadenfreude is most unbecoming. On the other hand, I'm not going to lie and say that I'm unhappy to hear that he has shuffled off the mortal coil, either.

Oh well, I'm glad that you are out of there. Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     'Tis the only comfort of the miserable to have companions in their woes.
**       ==  Cervantes, Don Quixote, Part 1 [1605], Book III, Chap. 10

September 07, 2014, Sunday, downtown Portland Oregon:

Portland Night Street Scene
A Parking Garage that is a civil engineer's dream

Portland Night Street Scene

Portland Night Street Scene
Portland Night Street Scene

[More photos here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Bill_M ]

Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 21:53:50 -0500 (10/07/2014 07:53:50 PM)     (answered 22 October 2014)
From: Bill M.
To: [email protected]
Subject: AA

Quite an axe to grind, eh?

The program, and its sister programs for other addictions, has helped millions improve their lives; to actually have lives worth living. The program encourages progress, not perfection.


Hello Bill,

Thanks for the note. Unfortunately, that is not true at all. The "millions" claim is a standard A.A. lie — just something that they have been saying for so many years that people believe it. That lie has no basis in fact.

The truth is that A.A. has nearly a 100% failure rate, and what A.A. is good at is raising the death rate in alcoholics. The famous A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant proved that.

A.A. also increases the rates of binge drinking, the rate of rearrests, and the costs of hospitalization, while failing to improve the sobriety rate. Other doctors proved those things. (Click on those links.)

Since you believe that A.A. works and helps millions, please answer this simple question:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

No qualifiers are allowed, like, "We will only count the people who worked the program right, or we will only count the people who really tried, and kept coming back." Everybody counts. No exceptions.

No excuses are allowed. When the doctor gives a patient penicillin, and it fails to cure the infection, the doctor doesn't get to say, "But he didn't work the program right. He didn't pray enough. He didn't surrender. He held something back in his Fifth Step." No excuses.

So what's the actual A.A. cure rate?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

Please answer that one simple question while you are saying that A.A. works and has helped millions of people.

So many people have ignorantly parroted that "millions helped" or "millions saved" claim that I have a long list of them. You made the list.

Have a good day now.

== 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."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Monica_R ]

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2014 15:00:33 +0000 (10/02/2014 08:00:33 AM)     (answered 22 October 2014)
From: Monica R.
To: Orange <[email protected]>
Subject: New clip from The 13th Step film

For three years, I've been making The 13th Step film. Recently, we reached a major milestone — we screened a rough cut of the documentary to a small group of people in Los Angeles for the first time.

The experience was incredible. To see so many eyes opened to the realities of Alcoholics Anonymous is my life's work. "I had no idea this was happening in AA," viewers told me repeatedly. I knew then that the film had achieved its purpose of exposing the criminal and sexually predatory behavior that occurs systematically in AA.

Just two weeks ago, we witnessed another victory. Karla Brada's murderer finally stood trial after three long years. It took the jury less than three hours to find Eric Earle, the man Karla met in AA, guilty of first-degree murder.

Earle's conviction offers some closure to Karla's tragic story. But the long fight to stop judges from sending violent criminals to AA — like they did with Earle — is just getting started. We've released an advance clip from The 13th Step film to help change the system. Click here to watch the clip on Vimeo.

Now we need to bring The 13th Step feature-length film to the masses. There are only a few more steps to go before it's complete. We are raising the last bit of funding to finish color correction, graphics and audio mixing on the film. Every dollar will help us reach our goal. Please consider donating $5 toward finishing costs for the film.

Thank you for your continued support!


Our mailing address is:
Inwood Girl Productions LCC
9854 National Blvd. #311
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Hello again, Monica,

I'm happy to hear that you are making progress on your film. I wish I had a million dollars to send you. Alas... But I can give you some publicity.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If the truth is that ugly — which it is — then we don't have
**     to be careful about the way that we tell the truth. But to
**     say somehow that telling the truth should be avoided because
**     people may respond badly to the truth seems bizarre to me.
**       ==  Chuck Skoro, Deacon

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html#Bill_N ]

Date: Fri, 3 Oct 2014 19:11:57 +0000 (UTC) (10/03/2014 12:11:57 PM)     (answered 22 October 2014)
From: william N.
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: Film About AA Sexual Predators

Hi Orange,

Hey, have you ever heard of Monica Richardson? She's a very vocal opponent of AA due to the 13th stepping that goes on in the rooms. Here's a link to something she's doing which you and others may find interesting: http://youtu.be/Z-jZ3NWI8uk

Also, here's a link which explains some of these AA front groups, which you have been exposing for years:


Anyway, it's a beautiful fall day here in NJ so I'm grabbing my camera and my bicycle and I'm going out to take some pics.

Hello Bill,

Thanks for the link. Coincidentally, the previous letter is from Monica, so yes, I've very much heard about her film.

But I didn't have those links, and now I do. So thanks.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Who speaks the truth stabs Falsehood to the heart.
**        ==   James Russell Lowell (1819—1891)

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Last updated 23 December 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters415.html