Letters, We Get Mail, XLIII

Date: Mon, March 27, 2006 20:34
From: "Laura K."
Subject: Another Pointless Letter

I am a greatful member of Al-Anon for 9 years now. My husband is in AA and just celebrated 1 year sober. My life was hell before This program helped. It has helped and I love it. I am truely happy.

I am amazed and in aww of the research and time you have put into this website. I am glad you believe you have found a purpose in life. What exactly are you trying to accomplish is my only question. Your own personal entertainment??

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the letter.

Since that is such an important question, I'll answer it right now. My goal is to get the truth out there, so that people who are fighting with drug or alcohol addiction problems will have some accurate information on which to base decisions. A.A. just lies so much that somebody has to tell the truth.

I know that the support that I have found in this program is something I could not have found anywhere else. The peace of mind and happiness I have found is so amazing.

Translation: A.A. meetings make you feel good. Your philosophy is hedonism: If it feels good, it is good.

That is also the philosophy of alcoholism and drug addiction, of course.

I don't understand why you feel what you have produced is going to help anyone.

Because a lot of people say that true information has helped them.

I dont know if you have ever lived with alcoholism or known anyone that is an alcoholic.

Well then, you are complaining about my web site without actually reading it, aren't you? I have talked about my alcoholism a lot. Start with the introduction, and continue. Here are some easy links for you:

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

My life was definately on the down hill before I found Al-Anon. Today I am happy. Can you tell me another way of doing this?? Probably not.

Yes. There are many ways, and the heart of all of them is:

You don't have to join a cult religion to quit drinking.

You sight so many different people, I bet if I wasted my time looking I could find quotes to demean everything on your site. What would it accomplish?

Ah, but it matters whom you cite, and what they say. Are they telling the truth, or are they lying?

If you were to cite someone like Susan Cheever, who praises Bill Wilson so much that she thinks it's a jolly good thing to practice necromancy and talk to the spirits of the dead like Bill Wilson did, well, that wouldn't be much supporting evidence for claims that Bill Wilson was okay.

Your site is out to destroy (which will not happen) a program that has helped millions of people.

No it hasn't. That is the Big Lie of Alcoholics Anonymous. It has not saved or sobered up millions; it has merely deceived a bunch of people. People quit drinking to save their own lives, and then A.A. steals the credit for it, and claims that it made them quit.

What is wrong with that. People making better lives because of AA. I dont see the harm.

You don't see the harm because you don't want to. A.A. hurts as many people as it helps.

The God of my understanding is my judge. I want to revert to old behavior and judge you but I will leave that to my Higher Power, God. Joke, make fun, demean, etc do what you feel is necessary but what is it accomplishing?

Get real. You are judging. You are simply in denial about judging.

Please tell me the answer to the problems I had before, if AA and Al-Anon is not the way what is? It may not be the answer for everyone but it is the answer today for me.

We already answered this. Quitting drinking is the cure for alcoholism. Joining a dishonest cult is not.

What you believe is the answer may be the answer for you or someone else but Al-Anon is the answer for me, for today. That is how my program works.

Al-Anon? You mean you didn't even have a drinking problem? You just love the cult? Then you definitely must go read this file: 12-Step Snake Oil. It will tell you about the harm that Al-Anon does.

PS, did you know that Dr Bob and Bill Wilson were named two of the most 100 influential people of the century. Was your name on that list??

Laura K

Did you know that Adolf Hitler made that same TIME magazine list? He was also one of the most influential people of the 20th century.

And actually, Dr. Bob did not make that list. Ah, but don't feel bad. Joseph Stalin didn't make it either.

And guess who wrote the TIME magazine article on Bill Wilson for that "TIME 100" list? Susan Cheever, the brown-nosing nut-case who thinks that necromancy and talking to the dead in séances is perfectly normal behavior. Oh yeh, and philandering and sexually exploiting women A.A. newcomers and lying about it isn't so bad either. Besides, Bill's sexual misbehavior and exploitation of sick women should be a secret because he's special....

Oh yeh, Susan Cheever had all kinds of good things to say about Bill. Her article was a total white-wash, just another regurgitation of the standard fairy tale. She actually went so far as to say that Bill was loaded out of his gourd with belladonna at Town's Hospital in December of 1934, but she failed to connect the dots and note that belladonna is an extremely powerful hallucinogenic drug. That's why Bill Wilson "saw God" there. Susan wrote:

And as Wilson underwent a barbiturate-and-belladonna cure called "purge and puke," which was state-of-the-art alcoholism treatment at the time, his brain spun with phrases from Oxford Group meetings, Carl Jung and William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience," which he read in the hospital.
Incarcerated for the fourth time at Manhattan's Towns Hospital in 1934, Wilson had a spiritual awakening — a flash of white light, a liberating awareness of God — that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous and Wilson's revolutionary 12-step program, the successful remedy for alcoholism.
The Healer Bill Wilson, Susan Cheever, TIME 100.

Oh, so close. She almost noticed that Bill was hallucinating his brains out on drugs, but she just couldn't quite bring herself to say it.

She also failed to notice that Frank Buchman, not Bill Wilson, developed all of the cult practices that are embedded in the 12 Steps.

And she failed to notice that A.A. basically has a 100% failure rate (above and beyond normal spontaneous remission). She just parrotted all of the usual untrue slogans and myths.

That's why somebody like me has to tell the truth, just for a change.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, March 28, 2006 23:30
From: "Tom H."
Subject: I put my money where my mouth is

Hey Orange my friend —

Good news on the paypal donation thing. I will make a small donation You have gotten over the line in my opinion bringing up GWB on your site but you do own the site so what the hell.

I respect your right to post your opinion, and if I dont agree with some of them its no biggie.

Only comment is this : The Harvard Study is misleading...... The hopeless, hardcore, alcoholic on the street (me) would not have been in that Harvard study under my definition of a HOPELESS alcoholic. AA sees on a daily basis people like me coming in with our pants full of shit and out of our minds. AA was started for REAL alcoholics and not problem drinkers. Do you know the type of "alcoholics" Harvard was using ? Would be interesting dealing with the actual people that had the high per centage of sobriety they claim to acheived "on their own."

Take Care


Hi again Tom,

Thanks for the letter and everything.

I reject the terminology of "hopeless alcoholic". That was just a word game that Bill Wilson used to explain away those alcoholics who successfully quit drinking without joining Bill's cult (like me).

You know the routine —
"If they don't quit drinking, then they are real alcoholics.
If they successfully quit drinking without A.A., then they aren't real alcoholics."

I can hardly count how many times that the true-believer Steppers have told me that I'm not a real alcoholic. The funny thing is, they are the only people who say that. My doctor called me a "late-stage alcoholic", and gave me a choice of "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

My family and friends also regarded me as a long-term hard-core alcoholic, and I guess some of them considered me hopeless and doomed to die drunk. (Some of them still might.)

And I am still just physically recovering from the damage, now, after 5 years of sobriety. With each passing month, a few more new brain cells grow and plug themselves in, and my short-term memory gets a little better and my head gets a little clearer. But jeez! 5 years to fix your brain damage? (Wernicke's Encephalopathy is a bitch.)

So if anybody was "hopeless", I would have to fall into that category. And yet, I still finally just got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and decided not to die that way.

So I wasn't really so hopeless, was I?

The truth is, the whole thing about "real alcoholics" or "hard-core alcoholics" or "hopeless alcoholics" is just a shades-of-gray thing. Some are sicker than others; some are more insane than others, some are more suicidal than others. But there aren't any hard-and-fast lines that divide alcoholics into "ordinary" versus "hopeless".

And there certainly are some people — a lot of people — who will simply decide to die drunk rather than change their lifestyles and live without alcohol, but the whole idea of the hopeless alcoholic who is the victim of a terrible incurable disease that only a spiritual rememdy can cure is a myth.

That quote from Harvard was not the results of one study or one test. That was the Harvard Medical School summarizing the state of the medical arts regarding drug and alcohol treatments. They were also summarizing the results of a lot of studies of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and drug addicts. So the only answer to your question about what kind of alcoholics they were describing would be "the average kind".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Estimated amount of glucose used by an adult
** human brain each day, expressed in M&Ms: 250.
** Harper's Index, October 1989

Date: Wed, March 29, 2006 16:21
From: "RTB"
Subject: Re: quik question

is the big books claim of a 70% success rate based on any study whatsoever to your knowledge? This might already be on the site but I might of missed it.


Hi Rob,

Thanks for the question. That was just Bill's Bull. It is based on nothing but Bill Wilson's imagination.

Bill was also lying with qualifiers there:

"Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement."

If guys didn't quit drinking, it was because "they didn't really try", so they don't count. That qualifier allowed Bill to fabricate any numbers he wished.

See this write-up:

Have a good day.
== Orange

*               Agent Orange              *
*          [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
** "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: Wed, March 29, 2006 12:19
From: "John L. M."
Subject: Another Letter

hey, just looking up on your web site again, and you were talking about group experiences and "Everybody's doing it". I actually had a person say in a 12 step meeting that everybody should have a 12 step program.

Now, if we're distinguishing between ourselves and "normies", why should they have a 12 step program?

Also, if you want to see somebody go on a trip, just ask them about going to their latest AA convention. Do they talk about brainstorming or ideas, or do they go on about some sort of group euphoria that seems to envelop the group. BTW, coming from people who've gone to national church conventions, they talk the exact same way. It's nothing uniquely magical about AA. As does the let-down afterwards when they go out into real society and have people who won't support their group bs.

One last note: they keep on talking about God 'as I... soon to be we... "understand it"' (note how it subtly changes to God as I understand _Him_ and references to a Creator), and how you can use a bedpan or doorknob or the group as your personal GOD. Two things: one, first my thinking is no good ("your best thinking got you here"), and yet I'm supposed to now come up with a God of my understanding? What if my God is Bacchus or Dionysus?

Secondly, this is in regard to bedpans doorknobs and groups of drunks. If you wanted to control a person; wouldn't the best way to do it to first off make them do something completely and utterly insane, such as praying to an inanimate object or a group of people?

John L

Hi again John,

Thanks for the letter. I totally agree. That's some good points. "If we are so different from the normies, then why do the normies need to do the 12 Steps?"

And that group euphoria thing is a classic. I know that's why a lot of people keep going back — back to all cults in general. And Frank Buchman built his cult on that same euphoria. Like everything else about Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson just copied that giggly wonderfulness technique from Frank Buchman and the Oxford Groups.

And making people do something stupid sounds a lot like the way that cults use the cognitive dissonance technique on new recruits — "change their actions, and their thoughts will change to match their actions."

And I like to have fun asking, "Can you use Satan as your Higher Power? Why not? Didn't Bill Wilson say that the Devil ruled this world? Can't you sell your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety?"

The wars which had been fought, the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubted whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 11.

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 100.

Yeh, but the darned air conditioning there is broken.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "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." — Abraham Lincoln

Date: Thu, March 30, 2006 17:25
From: "ttomm"
Subject: hi again


Would you please explain how so many churches are fooled in to thinking AA is Christian?


Hi Tom,

Thanks for the letter. You know, that's a great question. I have asked myself the same thing a lot, because it is just so painfully obvious that Alcoholics Anonymous is not even vaguely Christian.

My best guess is that the churches just don't look very closely. They hear people yammering about God and "pray a lot" and "surrender your life to God", and the preachers think that A.A. must be kindred spirits. The ministers seem to have an attitude like, "Oh well, it's a good organization that gets drunks to stop drinking and start praying, so they are okay."

I'm pretty sure that a lot of Christian ministers and priests don't understand that when A.A. uses religious terminology, the words don't mean what the preachers think those words mean.

And the A.A. members sure do proclaim themselves to be "Christian", or at least "compatible with Christianity" a lot, and the preachers don't seem to be too eager to notice the contradictions. (Again, don't put down a good organization that gets the drunks praying.)

I think that a lot of it is wishful thinking. People just want to call themselves Christians because that's the fashionable and acceptable religion, so they do.

A.A. members reduce the label "Christian" to mean some sort of "generic goodness":

  • If you don't kill or rob or rape too much (keep it in foreign countries), then you must be a "Christian".
  • If you aren't an atheist or an agnostic, then you must be a "Christian".
  • If you occasionally say nice things about Jesus, then you must be a "Christian".

I can't help but notice that the Gospels are just loaded with Christ's instructions to his followers to feed and clothe the poor and starving. And yet, Bill Wilson's instructions to his followers were:

"The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, William Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

So Alcoholics Anonymous never gets involved in any charity or service work to help the poor and homeless alcoholics, or anyone else either.

Hmmmm... What's wrong with this picture?

And then I could go on and on with Bill's instructions to recruiters to deceive the newcomers, and hide the gory cult religion stuff from the babies and pigeons until later...

I can just imagine Jesus lecturing his followers:

"Look, don't tell the suckers and the fresh meat about the God stuff — that will scare them away. Just yammer about the fun fellowship until you have them hooked. Dole out the truth by teaspoons, not buckets."

And then I did go on and on about the heresies of the 12-Step religion in the file The Heresies of the 12 Steps.

I suggest that people point out to their ministers and priests the whole problem of the unChristian heretical nature of A.A. theology.

And then the most fun question is, "Would it be okay for the local chapter of Satanists For Sobriety to meet in your church basement?"
After all, they are a 12-Step group too, and they serve a "Higher Power"....

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
** pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
** recovering their true sight, restore their government
** to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
** we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
** horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
** debt.  == Thomas Jefferson

Date: Fri, March 31, 2006 6:52
From: "Patrick W."
Subject: Lies

Sr. Orange:

You sound like a very angry man. Lighten up!


Hi, Patrick,

Thanks for the note.

Read the jokes page:


And 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: Fri, March 31, 2006 9:45
From: "Matt J."
Subject: Dr. Silkwood

Hello Orange,

I have really been enjoying your site. I have respect for the amount of research you have done and agree with most of your opinions. I especially like how you point out the lack of separation with church and state in how the court system sentences people to AA.

Do you have any information about Doctor Silkwood, the "Doctors Opinion", or any past or recent medical journals proving or disputing the "phenomenon of craving" he speaks about in the opinion"



Hi Matt,

Thanks for the question, and thanks for the compliments.

I don't really have a whole lot more information on Dr. Silkworth than you have available to you.

I feel funny about Silkworth. It seems like he was sort of the man in the middle. I half agree with Silkworth's idea that alcoholics are "allergic" to alcohol, but don't think that it is an allergy. It might just be a toxic reaction, or the body's rebellion against any more acetaldehyde poisoning. (Acetaldehyde is the breakdown product of ethyl alcohol, and acetaldehyde is toxic. It's what gives you those god-awful hangovers.)

I've had such reactions to alcohol myself. Just the first sip of a beer for the day and suddenly I had a horrendous splitting headache and was shaking, and had to slam three beers fast just to kill the pain. The pain didn't let up, but at least getting drunk minimized the pain. But I don't think that's an allergy; just some kind of temporary toxic reaction. I had many, many other occasions where I didn't have any such reaction to even a whole pitcher of good microbrew.

I feel like Silkworth allowed himself to be used for publicity purposes by Bill Wilson, and Wilson didn't hesistate to exaggerate Silkworth's reputation and "discoveries", in order to put a facade of medicine on Alcoholics Anonymous, and to try to claim that A.A. had something new.

Bill Wilson often tried to assert that Silkworth originated the disease theory of alcoholism, which isn't even vaguely true. The disease idea dates all the way back to Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1784.

The wording of "alcoholism is an allergy combined with a disease" does seem to have originated with Silkworth, though.

I have a lot of problems with Silkworth's "craving" idea, though.

We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinker.
A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, Dr. William Silkworth, page XXVI.

That is loopy self-referential logic. If someone really craves alcohol and drinks it to excess, then he is labeled an alcoholic. If someone doesn't crave alcohol and drink to excess, then he isn't an alcoholic. So of course only members of the "class of alcoholics" display such "craving".

Silkworth didn't even mention people with obsessive-compulsive disorders. A lot of what I see that passes for "craving" is really signs of some kind of obsessive-compulsive mental disorder. In fact, mental problems are one of the biggest underlying causes of excessive alcohol consumption.

But Silkworth just glossed over the mental issues by saying that alcoholics were "drinking to overcome a craving beyond their mental control".

He stated that some alcoholics were "psychopaths who are emotionally unstable", and he said that there was a "manic-depressive type", and then there were "normal" alcoholics, but that was the extent of Silkworth's analysis of the minds of alcoholics. Silkworth's knowledge of psychiatry was basically non-existent, and at times, he said so.

Silkworth was sort of on the right track when he talked about how a little drinking would rekindle the craving.

All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity.
A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, Dr. William Silkworth, page XXVIII.

But such reawakening of intense desires isn't restricted to alcoholics. I get the same reaction from smoking a cigarette after having quit for a while, and so do lots of other smokers or ex-smokers. Just one cigarette, and I'm hooked again. So, if I want to stay off of cigarettes, I can't smoke even just one.

Likewise, I have an ex-junkie friend who cannot touch opiates at all, not even just a few pain pills that his doctor gives him, or it reawakens the dragon and he's in trouble.

I think that just shows that once you get addicted to something, you will always be hyper-sensitive to it, and it is terribly easy to get readdicted.

I don't think that makes ex-addicts a separate class of humans.

But Bill Wilson did. Bill, who loved to rave about how bad alcoholics really are, went further:

...the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page XXIV.

And of course I don't believe that joining a cult religion and getting a big "psychic change" is the answer to alcoholism.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "The best cure for drunkenness is whilst sober,
**  to observe a drunken person"
**   == Chinese Proverb

[2nd letter from Matt:]

Date: Wed, April 26, 2006 8:55
From: "Matt J."
Subject: Re: Dr. Silkworth

Good morning Orange, thanks for the info on Silkworth, I could not find anything either. I was embarrassed to see that I had written Silkwood and I appreciate you understanding and filling in the blanks.

Hi Matt,

The name misspelling is no big deal. I knew what you meant. Karen Silkwood is a famous name too (for a very different reason, of course).

It is a strange that the big book only uses the 75 year old letter of an unknown doctor to define alcoholism and that AA has not included an updated or expanded definition of Alcoholism in one of the newer editions.

Yep. Can't change those sacred first 164 pages that God dicated to Bill Wilson, now can we?

I came across an old piece of 1940's AA literature from Doctor Bob's home group that I will attach for your files.

have a good afternoon,


Okay, thanks for the file. Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "As a matter of fact, the successful worker [A.A. recruiter]
** differs from the unsuccessful one only in being lucky about
** his prospects. He simply hits cases who are ready and able
** to stop at once."  Bill Wilson, quoted in 'PASS IT ON',
** The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached
** the world, page 252.

Date: Fri, March 31, 2006 15:54
From: "Pamela"
Subject: Interesting website

Hello —

I've been reading your website over the last few days and I have found it very interesting. I am a 38 year old woman, and I have been sober since 1986. I have also been a member of AA since 1986. My sobriety, up until recently, I assumed was because of being a member of AA. I have recently been challenged by my therapist to stop going to AA. So, partially because I don't trust my own thinking (thank you AA), I have been consulting your site for validation and information.

What's weird is that I realize I have never even thought about not going to AA for all of these years. I'm know along the way, people have asked me if I still need to go, why I am going, etc. But honestly, I never even thought about it until now. I haven't gone to a meeting for over a week (which isn't long but I big change), and the last meeting I went to was absolutely unbearable. Now that I have opened my mind to even considering that AA is not for me, it feels like the program, and the people in the program, is strangling me.

However, there is also overwhelming fear of not going anymore and a huge social void. And I can point to a million AA reasons and responses that are likely triggering my feelings. In some ways, I think I am "addicted" to AA if that makes any sense. My goal right now is to give myself some time away from the program and allow myself to "withdraw" from the toxic people that are part of my life. Lucky for me, I haven't really been such a "good AA" and I have a very active social life and network that are not related to the program.

The one thing that I have been struggling with more than anything, is actually questioning if I am even an alcoholic at all. I was 18 when I stopped drinking, and while my drinking and drug use was certainly unhealthy, I really don't know if I think I am an alcoholic. All along, I have told myself the typical program stuff, "relate to the feelings, not the situations", if we don't quit it'll be "jails, institutions or death" and so on, and I just bought into the whole thing and stopped questioning it. My therapist is a little bit out there the other way, she doesn't think there is such a thing as an alcoholic.

So, I could go on and on, but I won't. Thanks for putting the information out there. It has definitely helped me to think about some things, and at least opened my eyes to some things I need to look at. For myself and on my own. Possibly for the first time in my life.


Hi Pamela,

Thanks for the letter. And congratulations on your 20 years of sobriety.

And yes, it sounds like you are ready to get on with your life.

The idea that you are addicted to A.A. makes perfect sense. That is what happens. You get habituated to it and don't quite know how to live without it.

And you are right about A.A. strangling you. The aim of A.A. is to control your life. They say it is for your own good. I disagree.

I have to disagree with your therapist about there being no such thing as an alcoholic — I know that I'm one, and I just can't drink alcohol. (But that's okay, because there are other things to do in life.)

The biggest thing that I would worry about in your quitting A.A. is just replacing that part of your social life. You can start slowly, gradually getting more involved in no-alcohol social events here and there, enlarging your circle of non-alcoholic friends and acquaintances, replacing A.A. meetings with something else, one by one. You don't have to make a big life change and quit A.A. cold turkey. Do it gradually so that there is no freaking out... unless, that is, you really feel that you've gotten to the point where you can't stand another A.A. meeting.

I am reminded of another letter where that question came up before. Look at this letter, too.

You might consider some meetings of alternative self-help programs like SMART, if only to meet people who are into sobriety but don't depend on a 12-Step program. They also have online chat groups which are good for socializing.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== 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: Sat, April 1, 2006 6:15
From: "Howard W."

Dear Orange:

You made some remarks in letters that I wish to respond to. I think that a large part of drinking is dual diagnosis. I was told that dual diagnosis is "tough". Well, in substance abuse treatment, I expect it would be.

People frequently drink to deal with emotional/affective problems. If those issues are effectively addressed, the alcohol abuse is as well.

It is possible, for many, to drink safely again. But, the safe dosage of alcohol is low. For a man, no more than 12 servings per week. For a woman, no more than 9 servings per week. Alcohol abuse does cause physical disease.

For many, the issue is moot. Many simply do not wish to take the risk.


Hi Howard,

Thanks for the letter.

I agree with what you are saying, and have said pretty much the same thing often. Some of the doctors I was reading on a now-defunct mailing list considered all cases of addiction to be dual-diagnosis cases. They felt that when someone was so compulsively consuming alcohol or drugs that they were destroying their health, that they had some underlying psychiatric or other medical disorder. But of course.

The only cautionary note that I have to add is, "While it is possible for many to drink safely again, it is also possible, for the many others, for drinking again to be a personal disaster." Remember that the famous Rand Corporation think-tank study on alcoholism found that half of the successful people who had stopped drinking self-destructively did it by tapering off into moderate, controlled drinking, and the other half by total abstinence.

Dr. Kenneth Blum, who discovered one of the genes that appears to contribute to alcoholism, and perhaps also to a tendency towards drug addiction, believes that genetic alcoholics simply cannot drink at all. (See his interview in James Christopher's book on SOS.) Other kinds of alcoholics can learn to moderate.

I happen to be one of those genetic alcoholics who cannot drink again. I know, I did the experiment and learned the hard way, many years ago. It only took 3 beers to destroy 3 years of sobriety. I was readdicted instantly.

Some people, like me, have a problem where, if one beer is okay, two is even better and three is really okay. And then, why stop there? Three is just a tease. You need more than three to get where you really want to be...

When I drink, I want to astral-plane. I want it to be like LSD. I want to fly. I can drink until I pass out and I'm still not quite there. Almost, but not quite. So I'll keep drinking as long as the supply lasts and I can stay awake.

The only working answer for me is just don't drink any alcohol at all. That works great and is surprisingly easy. I find that I hardly even miss it. And I sure don't miss the hang-overs, the sickness, the brain damage and memory loss and cloudy-headedness... And the feeling that my life is falling apart. And the doctor telling me that I'm going to die. No, I don't need that.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Pain (any pain — emotional, physical, mental) has a message.
** The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific,
** but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be
** more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more
** lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message,
** and follow its advice, the pain goes away.
**         Peter McWilliams, Life 101

[another letter from Howard:]

Date: Mon, April 10, 2006 8:29
From: "Howard W."

Dear Orange:

Actually, I had little trouble with AA and the true believers in AA. First, I went a distance — about 20 miles to a noon meeting. They were mostly women; no men bragging/complaining about how "bad" they were.

Second, I protected my anonimity as much as I could. I phoned no one.

Third, my personal situation was unique; and, to be frank, quite unpleasant. Unpleasant for me to live through; and, unpleasant for them to hear. I was not "kind" to them — my honesty was merciless.

Some even seemed to understand that I was going to be all right — by implication, without AA.

So, AA did me no harm. I realized that I was not going make a life in AA. If I stayed in AA, I would remain a dead man walking.

I do consider AA to be useless as "treatment". AA seems to revel in self abnegation and self humiliation. The emotional blackmail is really quite primitive.

But that is mitigated. Many attendees are mandated; by court order; employer order; or, treatment center order. These folks may be close to a majority. It appears to me that many are keeping a low profile; saying little or saying the normal cliches. They are just putting the time in.

Many old timers are like that as well. Some seem to regard AA as a kind of talisman to ward off "the drink" Plus, many old timers do not really say anything about their lives or problems. Much of what they say consist of AA cliches. I think that some use these cliches because it is safe.

I think that AA is therapeutically useless; and in that sense, it is worse than a cult.

"very interesting; but, stupid"


Hi again Howard,

Thanks for the input. And have a good day.

== 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: Sat, April 1, 2006 7:55
From: "Donnie Garland"
Subject: Your web site (no, this is not a "hate" email)

Hello —

I have a web site on the internet, the domain space for which I paid, as an atheistic Hepper (Hepatitis C [HCV] ) who also happens to be a Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACoA). I was doing a search for an essay I read previously by someone who professed that his "higher power" is the Laws of Nature and I came across your site... which made me take another look at my multi-problem — Atheist, mature woman, and Hepper. I did not read every word of The Heresies of the 12 Steps so I'm not sure of your religious beliefs or if you have any. However, what I did read confirmed what I thought of the two ACoA meetings I attended in 1998; the higher power thingy. Also during those two meetings, I realized that even though all of the attendees had the common donominator of an alcoholic parent, that's where our similarities stopped.

Consequently, I've been in therapy several times.

I'm now giving myself psycho-babble via a personal web page, trying to get back my love of life since learning that I have HCV and remembering how I got it in 1965. I hope you don't mind but I've linked to your url on my blog/journal/whatever on my web site,

If you do not wish me to link to your site, please let me know. Because my site is so new, as of yet, none of the search engines have indexed any of the meta tags, so even if you don't wish to be linked from my site, it won't matter cause no one is viewing it (other than commercial internet sites and a couple of friends) at this time.

Donnie Garland
= = = = = = = =
Atheists and Heppers are people too!

Hi Donnie,

Thanks for the letter. I don't have any problem with you linking to me, and in fact, when this letter goes into the letters section of my web site, there will be a link from my web site to yours too.

And you know, in a way, my religious beliefs don't matter. What I believe in most of all is the truth. I am far more interested in finding and publishing the truth than in parrotting anybody's package of religious dogma.

For more on ACOA, check out the "snake oil" web page.

Good luck on your hep C battle. I got infected way back when, too. It's just so easy to do. I wrote a bit about that here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  You believe in God. I believe in God, too. But I also believe
**  in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy, so I
**  am obviously more religious than you, and morally superior to
**  you, because I believe in a lot more supernatural stuff than
**  you do.
**  Next, I'm going to come to believe that the world is flat, so
**  I can really be more religious than all of you.

[2nd letter from Donnie:]

Date: Mon, April 10, 2006 22:10
From: "Donnie Garland"
Subject: Re: Your web site (no, this is not a "hate" email

Oh, I love it!

(We prepare ourselves for what, death? Well, yes. You don't really imagine that the 12 steps actually cure or treat Hep C, do you?)

[See the web page about 12-Step Snake Oil]

Sorry to hear you have HCV too. Seems I've had it for more than forty years. My lil' pet dragon moved in on me, riding on two blood units because I almost bled to death during a still birth. In 1965, anyone could walk off the street and sell his blood for $5 a pint. I didn't care at the time; after all, the stuff saved my life. So what did I do? I paid society back by becoming a regular blood donor for years and years, hopefully saving others' lives... the way mine was saved. I stopped giving in 1989 because I got busted for not weighing the minimum requirement. Oh yeah! I figure I've given at least sixty people Hepatitis C.


What's galling is that for years I've smugly gone about telling everyone, "I'm the healthiest person I know" ... because except for HCV, I was. The symptoms began around 2000, but I thought they were just age related. Silly me. Oh, the ex husband (of 26 years) and my two grown children are all negative.

Did you treat? I have not and currently have no desire to do so. I'm more concerned with the quality of life rather than the quantity at this age. Treatment, from what I understand from those who have treated, is usually worse than the disease. We won't talk about the cost, although I have good medical insurance. Plus, half the time, it doesn't work. Those odds just aren't good enough for me. According to the biopsy, I'm Grade 2, Stage 1 and "my" medical team in Houston said I'd probably stay that way for a long time to come. I have geno 2b which, also according to the team, is THE genotype to have if I'm going to have hepc. My last check up was in February and the blood work results are still in the normal range.

Hi again, Donnie,

I got no treatment. I was never sick, and never had any signs or symptoms, and never dreamed that I had been infected. I lucked out big time, and my immune system spontaneously defeated the germ without my even knowing it. And that all happened like 35 years ago.

The only reason I ever found out is because one doctor insisted on testing me for everything as part of my million-mile overhaul (the over-50 physical).

That is verified. I got tested repeatedly, with more and more sensitive tests, including viral loads. While a sick friend was scoring 2 million viruses per milliliter of blood, I scored "under 200". I felt guilty, because of how good I felt while I watched him suffer and look like an escapee from Auschwitz (because of the interferon). I mean, he was a decent guy and didn't deserve what was happening to him.

Then, when they wanted to use me as a volunteer in a research project to see why people like me don't get sick, they gave me another, even more sensitive, PCR test and I scored "under 80". In other words, zero, but they can't measure zero, so they just declare the limits of resolution of the test. One doctor looked at the results of the test, and shrugged his shoulders, and said, "You don't have it."

But I've got lots of the anti-bodies, zillions of them, just hanging around, waiting, ready to kill any of those nasty Hep C germs that dare to come near.

My liver enzyme tests are all normal, too. Amazingly, even after 20 years of alcoholism and 35 years of Hep C, my liver is in great shape. Some people just have all of the luck, don't they? I will never again grumble about how unfair it is that I can't win the Powerball lottery.

(Like I said in that other letter, I won a game of Russian Roulette where a Colt 45 six-shooter was loaded with 5 bullets. I still managed to catch the empty chamber, and come through unharmed.)

Anyway, thanks for responding to my email. Your site is humongous and promises to give me weeks of enjoyable and thought-provoking reading.

Take care,
Donnie Garland
= = = = = = = =
Atheists and Heppers are people too!

You're welcome. You take care too. And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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)

[3rd letter from Donnie:]

Date: Thu, April 13, 2006 2:09
From: "Donnie Garland"
Subject: Your Thoughts on ACoA

On your web page, http://orange-papers.info/orange-snake_oil.html, you discussed the book, "Adult Children of Alcoholics" by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D. I bought that book some time ago, tried to read it the first time and the following paragraph (on page 18) disgusted me so I put the book away.

'The bottom line is that you know your parents love you. You can't prove it, but you just know it. This fact alone is the reason you can overcome the difficulties of your childhood. It is the critical component that not even alcoholism can destroy. The love may have been distorted but it was real... your reality was distorted.'


Obviously, I have bigger problems than having HCV and blogged on my HCV web site about the book. If you read that entry, you'll see that I wrote Ms. Woititz a letter in care of her publisher, telling her she was doing what everyone does and that is to lump everyone into neat, little, manageable slots. I haven't received an answer and probably won't.

Actually, I blame my psychotic, alcoholic mother and my ex husband for my contracting HCV, because neither of them physically cared for me when I was helpless and ill. Lately, I've been wishing I'd gotten HCV through using drugs. At least I would've had some enjoyment getting stoned while the dragon entered.

Donnie Garland
= = = = = = = =
Atheists and Heppers are people too!

Hi again, Donnie.

Thanks for the input.

I think I know what you mean.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "The man who invented the telescope found out more about
** heaven than the closed eyes of prayer ever discovered."
** — Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic" (1833-1899)

Date: Sat, April 1, 2006 10:46
From: "Kelli B."
Subject: Is it hopeless?

I have been search the internet and reading your site, but while I find others with the same problem, I can't find an answer...

My boyfriend of two years has been totally absorbed by AA. Nine months ago he started, and I was thrilled! (I didn't know what AA was, just that it was some magical cure for drinking) He was great when he was sober, but hateful and cruel when drinking. I was ready to leave him so when he went to AA I thought all my problems were solved. How wrong I was!

So he goes to aa. Stops drinking. We (me and my children) never see him. He's never home, he's at meetings, or preparing for meetings, or cleaning up after meetings, or he's working or sleeping. That's it. That becomes his whole life.

We fight about his sudden constant absence from the family. He is adamant that I go to alanon. So I go, expecting to find INFORMATION or help of some tangible kind. I find instead a small group of religious older women, who manage to eat up an hour and not talk about ANYTHING. They recite a bunch of stuff from the book, and then someone tells their story. That's it.

That didn't help me!!! From what I could see, this group of women just accepted that their husbands were never going to be home, and replaced them with a group of old women. Their literature suggested that "anything is better than him drinking" and "keep the house perfect, the kids quiet and take care with your appearance so he wont have an excuse to drink".

They also think they are powerless over alcohol. WELL. I am not powerless over ANYTHING as long as I have two feet and a heart beat. If he hadnt quit drinking I was leaving. How is that powerless?? I have LOTS of power over alcohol!

I cant buy into their crap. I try a few meetings, it's all the same, Lords Prayer at the end, holding hands, "Keep coming back , it works it works it works". So I just let him do his AA thing, and I take up all the slack at home. I do everything now, me and the kids. He comes and goes as he pleases... this goes on for months. I am not happy, kids are unhappy, there are still fights, about money, about normal household stuff two parents disagree about. But we cant have a conversation, he cant handle any stress.

Gradually he's sucked more and more into the theology of aa...

We were happily rational atheists when we moved in together two years ago, now he kneels at the foot of the bed to PRAY for people who annoy them.

I fight a constant inner battle to remember the man he WAS versus this stupid sheep he has become.

He gets counselling (sponsoring) from some old man... but it's really just sitting and swapping stories and reminders to PRAY for people. I begged him to get REAL counselling, but he claims only other AAs can help him.

I tried to talk to his new AA friends, i begged them for help, but they all told me "you need a program, you need to talk about how you feel with people who understand", they blamed it on "early recovery" and how in the beginning it's ALL about HIM. They claim he can't have a balance of program and home because program is everything.

I wanted him to get better, I didn't want him to die from his drinking, and he would have. But this... this is not living. He has no life that's not related to THEM. He is never home, does NOTHING around the house or with me and the kids, and I cant have a conversation with him that doesnt end with him trying to 'step' me with the serenity prayer. I. Don't. Believe. In. God. He cant accept that. He ignores all his old friends, and has pretty much cut off his family.

He still has problems with his health, with depression, terrible anger problems, and he gets only AA help, which encourages him to get off his anti-depressants because they are drugs.

Two weeks ago we separated. He is living with an aa member now, and claims he wants to work things out, come back home. But he can't spend an evening here without going to a meeting!!

Is there ANY way to get him back? The man I fell in love with, the one who was so smart and funny and great when he was sober?

Is he gone forever?

I want my old boyfriend back, but I cant wait forever. I have to make a decision soon because I can't pay the bills here alone.

Should I just tell him to come home, move back in and just go do his thing? Will he come out of this? Do they ever 'level out' and find some kind of balance?

Thanks for reading this, I know you must get lots of mail. I just dont know who else to talk to. I dont have anyone in my life with ANY experience with AA at all. And god FORBID you say anything against it to any of the fans.



Hello K,

Thanks for the letter.

What you are describing is just so classic. It's a big part of why I keep on doing this web site. A.A. really hurts a lot of people — probably far more than it helps.

The sponsor telling your boyfriend not to take his medications is downright criminal — that sponsor is practicing medicine without a license, countermanding the prescription of a real doctor. A.A. is notorious for doing that.

And them telling you that you need to go to Al-Anon is just crazy. Obviously, you do not need to join a cult religion just because you know an alcoholic.

Unfortunately, I can't predict the future. I'm no good at it at all. My crystal ball is cracked and dry rot got my ouija board.

In the most general of terms, we can talk about odds. Most people eventually tire of the 12-Step dance and drop out of Alcoholics Anonymous — 95% of them in the first year, and more after that. But at the same time, a few true believers become 20-year old-timers.

Everything you have said about your friend tells me that he has major mental problems — some kind of obsessive disorder. First he tried to fix himself by drinking alcohol, but that doesn't work because alcohol is poisonous, so then a doctor put him on tranquilizers, and now he has become totally obsessed with a cult religion. He needs professional help. And the doctor might want to give him another medication, like an SSRI.

The fact that he wants to come back to you and try to patch up the relationship is a hopeful sign. I would absolutely insist, as a condition of him coming back, that he see a real doctor, preferably a psychiatrist, and probably also a counselor whom the psychiatrist might recommend. Do not for a minute accept the rap about how A.A. is all that he needs. A.A's 12-Step quackery is the last thing that he needs.

You didn't say whether he is the father of your children. That matters. He will be more likely to come around and get it together if they are his kids. Otherwise, well, you have already noticed that he is more on a desperate quest for his own happiness than for yours or the children's.

(Isn't it funny how A.A. condemns selfishness when an alcoholic pursues a drink with dogged determination, and then praises selfishness when it is in pursuit of "my sobriety"? "This is a selfish program.")

I haven't found any good web sites that specifically give advice for a situation like yours. When I did an internet search, most of the found web sites just jumped on the alcoholism word and recommended that he be put into a treatment program. — Which is totally inappropriate here, especially when most treatment programs for alcoholism are based on the 12 Steps and don't work at all.

When redoing the search without any mention of alcoholism, just looking for a doctor for a compulsive-obsessive mental disorder, I got a few promising hits:

I would try calling the local city or country mental health office, and ask them how you can find a doctor or psychiatrist who is appropriate for this situation. I would start off emphasizing the words "obsessive mental disorder", and leave the alcoholism word for later, so that they don't do the same thing as the internet search does, and just recommend standard alcoholism treatment.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** It may be difficult to determine where religious
** beliefs end and mental illness begins. — Elaine Cassel

[2nd letter from Kelli:]

Date: Mon, April 10, 2006 17:26
From: "Kelli B."
Subject: Re: Is it hopeless?

Thank you so much for your reply. Its a great comfort just to know that someone understands.

Hi again Kelli,

Thanks for the thanks.

Sadly I have gone the route you suggested, I went to doctors visits with him, and they put him on antidepressants, which didn't work because the alcohol interfered with them. I accompanied him to a psychiatrist, and we have been to counselling. Our doctor, the psychiatrist and the counsellor ALL think AA is the best thing ever.(Its also a small town, we have already tapped pretty much every resource) The counsellor encouraged him to 'find a balance', but he cant. You put it well when you called it a "desperate quest for his own happiness". Thats pretty much it in a nutshell. Nothing else matters except that warm fuzzy feeling he gets from his next hit, I mean MEETING.

I think I know where my situation is headed, there's not much else to try, especially if he doesn't see the problem. I have to take care of myself, and my children now (not his). If I had only known, I never would have supported him going to that first meeting. Even his mother asked him if he would ever "have a life again". I have one hope left, and that's the anger management counselling I insisted he take before I would consider a reconciliation..... I guess I roll the dice and home someone talks some sense into him, because he listens to EVERYONE and ANYONE but me.

Yes, that is the problem, isn't it? In his mind, only members of A.A. are valid sources of information. Nobody else knows anything. (That is a universal cult problem.)

Is there any chance you could hook up with someone like Michael Moore and do an expose movie and get your message out to a bigger public?

Now that would be fun. I understand that Penn and Teller did an episode of their show ("Bullshit", I think), Season 2, Episode 11, that skewered Alcoholics Anonymous. I haven't been able to find or download or see a copy of it yet. And South Park did a great spoof of A.A. — see this. So the message is getting out, little by little.

Thanks again for your site, and for being there. You can't imagine how much better I feel just to know someone else can see what I see.


Thanks again. Take care of yourself and your kids, and have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** News Flash: While dressed up in a flight suit and
** standing on a barge that was anchored near New Orleans,
** George W. Bush announced "Mission Accomplished —
** We have won the battle against Hurricane Katrina.
** Major combat operations are over. So is our support
** for repairs."

UPDATE: 2013.01.13: Here is the famous Penn & Teller episode that spoofs A.A.:

Date: Sat, April 1, 2006 13:47
From: "Debbie"
Subject: Hello!

Hi there!

I'm Debbie, BIG fan, and thank you!

I am totally sober, FINALLY and without AA!!!!!!!! AA left me drinking and farther and farther into self hatred and feelings of being a failure. No AA for me = I am alive.

Anyhow I am writing to see if you might be able to point me to, or put out a blurb. I'm looking for some NON-aa recovery stories of women.

I have a site http://www.reachingupforair.com

I don't disclude anything that anyone uses, hell, I finally got the point that what ever works if it needs working.

But.... I'm getting a TON of stories, but all are AA OA NA and on. I know you don't endorse a lot and that's cool.

I've sent many other women like me your way. Esp. when that say "I've tried AA and I just don't get it. Their right, I'm hopeless" Bull!

Anyway, it never hurts to ask.

Thanks for your site!!!! I am free and living my life, moving forward and not living a drunkalog day after day after day!


Hi Debbie,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I'll put this letter up on my web site, and anyone who wants to send you a story can.

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

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Your friend is the person who knows all
**   about you, and likes you anyway."

Date: Sun, April 2, 2006 13:14
From: "jerry a."
Subject: web page

Hi A,

Very interesting web page, enjoyed looking it over. My compliments on your effort.

Self-editing is sometimes doesn't deliver a very polished product. Might suggest letting someone look it over for you and reducing the number of rhetorical questions. Otherwise, nicely done.


Hi Jerry,

Thanks for all of the compliments. And yes, sometimes I could use an editor.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, April 3, 2006 6:37
From: "Mairtin O M."

Hi Orange,

how are you doing? I'm very well. I've enjoyed reading your latest batch of letters. Especially the one by Berman the fat guy. Seems to me it is he who probably has a "angry bloated face". Another good example of the 'spiritual program' in action!

Anyway the main reason I write to you is to tell you about an online book I found called Cult Survivor, How to Live In The Material World Again by Nori J Muster. You can find it somewhere here http://surrealist.org/writing/handbook.html

She has a chapter on the Steps, but rather than condemn it she suggests it can help! She claims it can relieve guilt! And her analysis on the Steps is crazy. She advices us to make contributions to AA! Really you've got to see this!


Hi again Mairtin,

Thanks for the letter. It's good to hear from you again, and I am well, and I hope you are too.

That thing about Nori Muster is really interesting, because I have quoted Nori Muster at length before, because she wrote one of the best books about being inside of the Hari Krishna cult for 10 years — Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement.

Alas, it sounds like she still doesn't understand what the essence of a cult really is. She's happily walking right into another one.

And what do you want to bet? I suspect that what she likes about A.A. is very similar to what she liked about the Hari Krishnas...

Yes, I will just have to get ahold of that book and read it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the believers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."
**     Because cults are so clever at manipulating certain emotions and events
**     —  in particular, wonder, awe, transcendence, and mystery (this is
**     sometimes called "mystical manipulation") and because of the human
**     desire to believe, a former cult member may grasp at some way to go on
**     believing even after leaving the group. For this reason, many people
**     today go from one cult to another, or go in and out of the same
**     cultic group or relationship (known as "cult hopping").
**       ==  Janja Lalich 

PS: Ah, wait, I found it. And I see all kinds of big red warning flags already. On the introduction page we read:

"One book that brought me solice after my cult experience was A Course In Miracles. ACIM teaches that reality is neutral."

I have written about ACIM before, here. I consider it just another hocus-pocus fraud. The authoress of ACIM claims to be channeling Jesus Christ and writing down His dictation. Yeh, right.

I hate to think it, but it seems like some people just stumble from one cult to another, primarily because they don't change what they want. If you are eager to buy into cultish airy-fairy beliefs, there will always be a con artist around who is eager to sell some to you.

I'll read Nori Muster's whole book later.

Date: Mon, April 3, 2006 9:42
From: "jason e."

To A. Orange

I came across your web-site and found it most interesting. I am a reovered alcoholic and found the twelve steps most useful. Your page picks apart Bill Wilson very well, I have no problem with that. The fact is that he helped millions do what they couldn't do by themselves. I think your idea with the smoking was ignorant. At the time the book was written tabacco was considered a deadly problem. Hell women smoked when they were pregnant at that time. Cocaine was put in Coca-Cola. Anyway if AA is a cult what alternative to Alcoholism do you offer I did not see that on your page. If you're not part of the solution then you are feeding the problem.

God Bless


Hi Jason,

Thanks for the letter. I pretty much disagree with everything that you wrote, of course.

Taking it line by line, let's see...

  1. "I found the twelve steps most useful..."

    Most useful for what?

  2. "Your page picks apart Bill Wilson very well, I have no problem with that. The fact is that he helped millions do what they couldn't do by themselves."

    Helped how many to do what? First off, the most members that the A.A. headquarters in New York claims is 2 million, worldwide, and nowhere near all of them actually get or stay sober, and most of them will eventually drop out of A.A.... Look here and here.

    Bill sure didn't help them to quit drinking, because the A.A. members relapsed left and right, and still do.

    In fact, the A.A. failure rate is that same as the failure rate of bunches of alcoholics who just quit on their own with no help. That fact comes from a doctor who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous (World) Services, Inc., who spent the better part of 20 years shoving A.A. on his alcoholic patients and trying to prove that A.A. works. It didn't, and it doesn't. So Bill and his cult didn't help anybody to do anything.

  3. "I think your idea with the smoking was ignorant. At the time the book was written tabacco was considered a deadly problem. Hell women smoked when they were pregnant at that time. Cocaine was put in Coca-Cola."

    Well gee, I guess God must have been really stupid in the 1930s, right? God couldn't figure out that tobacco was a killer and tell Bill to stop it, while God was talking to Bill in Step 11 and telling him everything else? (Including dictating the Big Book to Bill, rumor has it...) Lois Wilson could figure out how bad tobacco was, and could nag Bill Wilson about smoking, but God couldn't figure it out? It would take God another 30 or 40 years to learn from the U.S. Surgeon General that smoking is unhealthy? Why didn't God just listen to Lois Wilson?

  4. "Anyway if AA is a cult what alternative to Alcoholism do you offer I did not see that on your page."

    You seem to be unaware of the illogic of that sentence.
    Why do I have to offer an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous? (Regardless of whether A.A. is a cult...)

    Do I have to offer an alternative to witch burning and the Spanish Inquisition if I criticize those things? Why not? Do you want a bunch of witches and heretics running around here? What's wrong with you?

    When I say that Alcoholics Anonymous is a harmful cult, I do not have to offer an alternative.
    What do you want, a less harmful cult? A less dishonest cult? One that doesn't lie about its success rate so much?

    Nevertheless, I have pointed people towards alternative groups and methods and techniques many many times:

  5. "If you're not part of the solution then you are feeding the problem."

    Spoken like a true cultist. That is the Either/Or propaganda technique — try to reduce the argument to only two choices, and try to force your opponent to choose between them.

    I can, of course, toss that same line back at you: "If you won't join in the fight to get rid of harmful dishonest predatory cults that only pretend to offer recovery and health and self-development, then you are part of the problem."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

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Last updated 20 September 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters43.html