Letters, We Get Mail, LIV

Date: Sat, June 10, 2006 19:18
From: "James J.H."
Subject: What is your purpose?

Dear Secret Agent Orange,

I just found your web site and have briefly glanced at a couple of your articles/chapters. I see somewhat what you are driving at. However, please forgive me that I have not consumed more of your thoughts before contacting you, but I need to understand what you are driving at. Do you profess something that works, that is, something that is not nessesarily a program, a cult, a brainwashing, or are you simply out to antagonize something that is by all means certainly a cult. I will try to read more of your thoughts and will come to them with an open mind and perhaps contact you again as I journey through them. If you have any suggestions as to where I may find a more comprehensive summary of exactly what you are hoping to accomplish through your presentation of your thoughts, please feel free to direct me to them in you collection of chapters. Until then I will examine your treatise more thoroughly.


james j.h.

Hi James,

I think I've answered all of those questions before, so let me just point you to the answers.

  1. Goals: here.

  2. Alternatives that work better: a list is here.

  3. Other discussions of things that have worked for other people: lists here, and here.

  4. I particularly recommend reading about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. Understanding how that works has been a life-saver for me.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 08:29
From: "Joe P."
Subject: Which One ?

Let me guess. Either mommy or daddy was "constitutionally incapable" of getting sober in AA, killed themselves, and Orange is bitter?

Took Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out !!

Good Luck with your resolution to blame anything but who's real fault it was — the individual !!


Hi Joe,

Actually, you have it backwards. I am the one who has been saying all along that sobriety is a matter of individual will power and self-control. It was Bill Wilson who yammered all of that infantile cry-baby nonsense about how "we admitted we were powerless over alcohol", and "self-knowledge and will power were useless" and only "Higher Power" can save you.

I've been saying all along that will power is your best tool and you must save yourself.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

[more letters from Joe P.:]

Date: Sun, June 18, 2006 12:36

the website link is your reply? Looks like Sherlock was right again.

No, the attached file is the answer. I answer all letters with web pages because the same HTML text goes to both the correspondent and into my web site. It saves me the work of typing everything twice.

Just in case you lost the attachment, I'll send it again.
Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, June 18, 2006 11:31
From: "Joe P."
Subject: Re: Which One ?

opps!! found it, unfourtunately. Looks like your will power is working well on your bitterness about life. Oh well. All i can say is i'm glad im not you.

Wow, that makes two of us. How nice that two people can find such joy in being themselves, without any envy of others.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Error is a hardy plant: it flourisheth in every soil.
**      — Martin Farquhar Tupper  (1810-1889)

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 14:39
From: "AnneElena F."
Subject: the main malfunction?

Hey Orange--

Every once in a while, I come across some reference or link to your material and while my perusal has not been complete, by any means, I have read a lot of it. You've obviously painstakingly researched your material. I don't find your credentials anywhere, but you write with the style of an educated man. But you are as able a propagandist as any of those you accuse of same. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say. (The Israelis have a Ministry of Information or some such agency that produces what they call "hasbarah." One time I heard an Israeli diplomat speak on some campus and he said, rather candidly I thought, "Do you know the difference between hasbarah and propaganda? Propaganda is theirs and hasbara is ours.") So take that as a compliment. Nowadays, anybody with a message better learn some propaganda technique, or they can expect to remain as a voice crying in the wilderness.

Hi AnneElena,

Thanks for the compliments.

Let me add though, that I try hard to not use deceptive or misleading or dishonest propaganda techniques. Like I said at the start of the web page on propaganda techniques: "Any time you are trying to convince anyone of something, you are using some kind of persuasion, debating, or propaganda technique." But it is possible to take the high road while persuading people of your viewpoint. --Like by telling the truth, for instance.

But I do have one question for you. It seems to me that AA, as practiced by consenting adults, does no more harm or good than transcendental meditation, or jogging, or macrobiotic diets or feng shui, or any of a number of other disciplines that were supposedly life-transforming for some. The only thing that I can see that's any different is that some forces outside of AA proper --as the entity-- have taken it upon themselves or colluded with some AAs in some place or places, to make attendance therein compulsory for those convicted of certain crimes.

See below.

It is only this coercive element that I find threatening or offensive, and the fact that it has been used this way to the exclusion of other approaches. I figure if we're going to force people into re-education, we ought to be exercising equal-opportunity coercion. And again, this coercive piece is actually outside the AA structure. The other elements of cults don't seem to be present when one looks at the organization as a whole.

Oh yes they are. Read The Cult Test.

So I'm wondering if your negative feeling might be mitigated at all if the courts' coercive practice of sentencing people to AA could be stopped? It just seems remarkably counter-productive, on the whole. AA's own research data reflect this, and it seems like there ought to be more than one way to skin a cat.

That would be a big part of it. The other half is to stop funding treatment centers that force 12-Step quackery on their patients — even to outlaw the practice. Nowhere else in the medical establishment can incompetent fools practice medicine without a license and foist cult religion routines on sick people and call it treatment.

Just interested in your thoughts on that, if you have the time.

AnneElena F.

Hi AnneElena,

Those are some good questions. Thank you.

  1. First,
    "It seems to me that AA, as practiced by consenting adults, does no more harm or good than transcendental meditation, or jogging, or macrobiotic diets or feng shui, or any of a number of other disciplines that were supposedly life-transforming for some."

    Unfortunately, A.A. is much more harmful than that. One of the current leaders of A.A., Dr. (and later Prof.) George E. Vaillant, spent many years trying to prove that A.A. works. What he accidentally proved was that A.A. kills. His A.A.-based treatment program had the highest death rate of any of the kinds of treatment that he studied — much higher than the others.

    In addition, other doctors found that A.A. raised the rate of binge drinking enormously, rather than lowering it, and A.A. also increased the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness. And another doctor found that A.A. made a lot of alcoholics sicker so that they required more expensive hospitalization later on.

    In fact, A.A. has come out looking terrible in every valid unbiased randomized longitudinal controlled study ever done.

    There is also accumulating evidence that A.A. raises the suicide rate in alcoholics. Look here.

  2. Secondly,
    "The only thing that I can see that's any different is that some forces outside of AA proper --as the entity-- have taken it upon themselves or colluded with some AAs in some place or places, to make attendance therein compulsory for those convicted of certain crimes."

    Actually, it is forces both within and outside of the official Alcoholics Anonymous organization. A.A. does everything in their power to continue the coercive recruiting while also declaring that they are not doing it. And A.A. has been practicing coercive recruiting ever since Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob started doing it in 1935. The A.A. organization could put a stop to coercive recruiting if they wished to, but if they did that, they would lose a large percentage of their new recruits.

    Look at these items:

    The coercive recruiting is a big part of the problem with Alcoholics Anonymous. Not only is A.A. harmful quackery, but it is also a coercive religion, which violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**  indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**  world over."
**  "...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy,
**  critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA
**  attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper
**  separation between church and state."
**  == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**  The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 12:41
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Re: Addictive Personalities & Moral Bankruptcy

Hi Again, A. Orange!

You come across as having the sort of empathy that Abe Lincoln had in mind when he said, "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. There seems ever to have been proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice." As I go into on my webpage on hyperthymic, or chronically manic, personalities, on http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/AboutUsSumm.htm, this is a characteristic that I've seen a lot among hyperthymics, which could be why you see so much of these "The Beautiful People" personalities among addicts. As I go into on that webpage, hyperthymics tend to act like the positive, and/or the negative, stereotypes of artists. These positive stereotypes include the great empathy, and these negative stereotypes are the artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, including boozing and doping.

One organization that may interest you, is the Foundation for Drug Awareness, set up by lawyer Robert Shapiro after his son Brent relapsed in addictions to both booze and dope, by impulsively taking an Ecstasy tablet, which killed him. The organization's homepage is at http://foundationfordrugawareness.com/. Robert set up this foundation to find more reliable treatments for drug addiction, since the twelve-step groups have been found to have such low rates of success. Brent did have one neurological problem, ADHD, that could have given him an added level of impulsivity. He was tested for bipolar disorder 3 times, which could mean that he was somewhere in the bipolar spectrum, another reason for impulsivity.

And what scares me about the popularly accepted version of The Serenity Prayer being in terms of what "I can" do, is that it would have to judge the weak by more demanding standards than it would judge the strong. The more power that one has, the less courage it would take to change what he could, and the less that he'd have to serenely accept. Everything's a matter of how pragmatically each person handles the power dynamics. You could really see this in the programs of the ladies' auxiliaries of the twelve-step groups. The whole reason for Gam-Anon saying that pathological gamblers' wives should be good little wifeys, isn't that this fits some old-fashioned moral ideal, but that this is one of the few ways in which gamblers' wives could increase the chances that the gamblers would quit.

On https://ssl.perfora.net/s105607162.oneandoneshop.com/sess/utn; jsessionid=15448c64cdba930/shopdata/index.shopscript,
you could see a listing of all of Al-Anon's current conference-approved books. Three books on this webpage that would show quite a bit about this victim-blaming Zeitgeist, are The Al-Anon Family Groups--Classic Edition, How Al-Anon Works for Family and Friends of Alcoholics, and, especially, In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You. The first of these was the first Al-Anon Big Book, and the second one, its current Big Book, "Al-Anon's 'basic book' reflects the shared wisdom of Al-Anon members today." The most noticeable difference between the two is that the first one focuses on families of recovering alcoholics, and those who join Al-Anon in hopes that this would somehow lead to the alcoholic in the family sobering up. The second book focuses on how members could Stoically live with active alcoholics, in the awareness that the only people who these members could change is themselves, the same attitude in the Gam-Anon chapter of Gamblers Anonymous' book. This radical change has got to be the reason why Al-Anon has a whole new Big Book, rather than treating the original as sacred, as AA treated theirs. And In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You, goes into this serene acceptance in quite a lot of detail.


(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Hi Sharen,

Thanks again for the input. I'll check out those references.

And you know, the very idea of teaching the wives that they should just stoically and serenely accept a bad situation turns my stomach. (What about the children? Are they supposed to just serenely accept the fact that their childhoods are hell?)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

[another letter from Sharen:]

Date: Sat, June 17, 2006 18:10
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Re: Addictive Personalities & Moral Bankruptcy

Hi Again, Orange!

Regarding kids learning to live with what alcoholic parents either did or are still doing, I get the feeling that this means a lot to you on a personal level!

Hi again, Sharen,

Yes, it does. I'm the son of an alcoholic too.

Also, that website for Al-Anon, is officially the website for both of them and Ala-Teen. For all I know, they may even be the same group. And Ala-Teen would have to follow the same logic as Al-Anon, that the only choices that alcoholics' family members have are to live with the problems that the alcoholics cause, either pragmatically or unpragmatically. Sure, it may not be as possible to give alcoholics' kids the same sort of cognitive therapy that Al-Anon gives to the spouses. At the same time, Grasshopper on the old Kung Fu TV show was just a kid, and you might be able to give any kid a certain amount of that sort of training. One could also prove empirically that kids like Grasshopper who have alcoholic parents, would feel better, and grow up to be less traumatized, than would kids with natural states of mind who have alcoholic parents.

Yes, not only are Ala-Teen and Alanon the same organization, but the children's groups all get adult Alanon sponsors to run them and to indoctrinate the children with the correct party line. The Alanon website says of Alateen:

Every Alateen group needs an active, adult member of Al-Anon to serve as sponsor. The sponsor is an active part of the group, guiding and sharing knowledge of our Twelve Steps and Alateen Traditions.

Look here for much more.

As that subchapter of Backlash I e-mailed you says, "Asked later why she misrepresented herself as her patients in the book, Norwood says, 'I never claimed those were case studies. Some are really fictional. The point is not which parts are me and which aren't.'" In that same sense, one could say that the point of groups like Al-Anon and Ala-Teen is to train family members how to think and act in ways that would make them feel better, become less traumatized, solve their own problems the most pragmatically, etc. If you brought up questions regarding moral responsibility, that wouldn't be the point.


(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Hmm, now that is a funny attitude: "Whether my book is fact and fiction doesn't matter. The point is something else..."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 15:26
From: Jim M.

Where can I read more about YOU: who you are; your background and education and, most importantly, you experience with alcohol addiction?

Hi Jim,

That question crops up frequently. Even though this web site is not about me, a bunch of autobiographical stuff has crept in. Look here

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Always do right- this will gratify some
** and astonish the rest."
**     - Mark Twain (1835-1910)

[2 more letters from Mvega:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 15:57
From: "Mvega"
Subject: Hi :)

Hi again! :)

Here is a link I found.

The 12 Steps Every Company Can Take To Deal with Addicted Employees

What the hell is that? 12 steps for what? Yeah ok, lets make steps out of everything, 'cause you know.......companies need spirituality too! I guess if a company or business is doing bad it's because they are all sinners and they need to confess to God and another person (a company who is a sponsor?).

And they also need to admit that they are powerless over making money and that the company is unmanageable? Then and only then.....when your company is under God control can it prosper!

Lol! What a bunch of crap..............



Hi again Mvega,

And Step 12 is "Support Legislation That Guarantees Access to Addiction Treatment. ... supporting the HEART (Help Expand Access to Recovery and Treatment) Act now under consideration in Congress. "

Translation: Give Hazelden and the other treatment centers more money for foisting 12-Step quackery and cult religion on sick people.

I have a web page for sending emails to your Congressperson and Senators, asking that we not pay any more money for quack medicine and cult religion.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 16:17
From: "Mvega"
Subject: Pics included of online store of Hazelden

Wow Eh? (Yeah, I'm Canadian)

My Name is Bill W DVD
DVD, Bill W
*Item: *7944
*ISBN-10: *141981916X
*ISBN-13: *9781419819162
*Publisher: *Warner Brothers, Inc.
*Published Year: *2006

*List Price:* $19.98 Each
*Your Price:* $19.98 Each

World War I veteran William Wilson has everything: loving wife, good health, Wall Street career — and a "drinking problem." Penniless overnight when the stock market crashes, Bill quickly descends into a "stormy sea of booze." Then he meets Bob Smith, an Ohio surgeon with the same "problem." Together they discover a way to stay sober... one day at a time. And their mutual triumph would soon become the world's.

James Woods won a Best Actor Emmy Award for his no-holds-barred portrayal of Wilson in My Name is Bill W., the powerful true story of how two lives intersected at a crucial time — and how the resulting friendship led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous. With over 75,000 AA chapters worldwide, the work started by Wilson and Smith (played by James Garner) goes on everywhere, heroically... one day at a time.

Hi again, Mvega,

Thanks for the notes. Yes, I remember seeing that program on TV a long time ago. At that time, I didn't realize just how historically inaccurate it was, and what a gloss-over. Like absolutely nothing about Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob in Akron saying, "Let's go to the local hospital and force our Oxford Group cult religion cure on some alcoholics." — Which is what really happened.

In fact, the movie makers never mentioned the Oxford Group at all. They pretended that Frank Buchman and the O.G. never existed.

They also repeated the fairy tale about Bill just luckily picking Reverend Tunks' name off of a plaque in the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, and phoning him to ask for another alcoholic to talk to — and Rev. Tunks sent Bill to Dr. Bob, who was just coincidentally also another Oxford Group member. (PASS IT ON, p. 136) Reverend Tunks was actually an Oxford Group leader, and Rev. Sam Shoemaker in New York City (who "changed" Tunks and was Tunks' sponsor) almost certainly told Bill to call Tunks while he was in Akron.

Besides, Bill's story was physically impossible because of the structure of the hotel.

They also didn't bother to mention the fact that Dr. Silkworth was dosing Bill Wilson with hallucinogenic drugs in Towns' Hospital when Bill "saw God" in December of 1934. So Dr. Silkworth wasn't really so mystified by Bill's fantastic vision of God.

They also maintained the pretense that Bill Wilson was a stock broker who worked on Wall Street, not a 2-bit hustler and stock touter who participated in stock "pump-n-dump" fraud.

And above all, they never mentioned the terrible relapse rate in early Alcoholics Anonymous. The movie makers pretended that Bill's "spiritual cure for alcoholism" actually worked, which it didn't.

One guy who has decades of experience with A.A. told me that it was a movie that should never have been made.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Men and nations behave wisely once they
**   have exhausted all the other alternatives."
**        - Abba Eban (1915-2002)

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 16:13
From: "so beyondthat"
Subject: Re: Another system


I often wonder, "are those people really bonkers or really good actors?" That Cruise move was spotted by the tabloids as a perfect opportunity to plug their respective films that were coincidentally opening at the same time as the couch jumping. They used to call it a publicity stunt. You no doubt rememer Ricky and Lucy who were forever talking about such hijinks. You may remember in the movie Schindler's List, Oscar Schindler plants his kisser in many photos with Nazi officers. Drinking with them, cavorting with them...just to let it be known that he loved them and knew them and they him. All staged.

Now they call them photo ops I guess.

I don't know how nobody noticed that Cruise started to act a little silly and offbeat and liked it and continued. It was scripted and obvious in my eyes. I think Oprah knew it was too. I can't believe that she didn't know before the show. Just the same as she knew that James Frey was a little iffy. Her producers were aware way before her endorsement.

In any case, charlatans use the well known for their passport to respectability. Why did Deepak and the other guys like him not go after the masses first? First they became something or other to the stars. Name recognition.

I wasn't familiar with Buchman and celebs but will look it up when I get a chance.

It's like Kaballah (Crapballah) Center and Madonna and Britney Spears. People are sheep. Oh well.

Take care,

Hi again, SBT,

Those are good points, and good questions.

Do you suppose we could button-hole Tom Cruise and ask him if he is really crazy? :-)

But wouldn't that sort of reflect on Scientology? Scientology was supposed to make people super-sane. Has Tom Cruise given a million dollars to Scientology only to come out crazier?

About Buchman and celebs, look here: Hobnobbing With The Nabobs

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release
**   form before you can receive its 'spiritual assistance.'
**   This assistance might involve holding you against your
**   will for an indefinite period, isolating you from
**   friends and family, and denying you access to
**   appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed
**   for this treatment — assuming you survive it. If not,
**   the release form absolves your caretakers of all
**   responsibility for your suffering and death.
**   Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
**                 — Dr. Dave Touretzky

[another letter from SBT:]

Date: Sun, June 18, 2006 09:08
From: "so beyondthat"
Subject: Re: Another system


Funny you should mention it but I am currently de bunking an ex business associate. He uses the internet to take one meeting with a celeb and turn it into something so big. It's stupid. Rather like Oscar Schindler in the beginning of the movie where he poses with all the Nazi officers. This so he can have the hob nob work as his entry card later in the script. Unfortunately, as you know from having created Agent Orange, this takes energy and time. Many times, unavailable to the victim. I don't have time for such a mission. I wish I did and would expose the many idiots I have come across in this life who deserve to be front page exposes.

The real people in any field are quiet. Just like the great masters of the martial arts. They are humble and you never know they are there. In fact, it is forbidden to speak of one's prowess. It is always the egomaniacs with nothing to offer that use the hobnob trick.

I think Tom Cruise is very sane. He may drift in and out with the jargon and lifestyle of his cult but I think he knows exactly what is going on.

Thanks for that part of your site. It is EXACTLY what this guy who basically was a janitor in a former business I owned who makes himself out to be the guru of the particular field. He keeps using the same tricks over and over again. It's almost as if he refers to Sun Tzu and Machiavelli before every move. I can't imagine but he does it. He repeats the same act(s) just like they do in XA. A sly move works so he keeps doing it and getting more pigeons.

Have a terrific day and talk to you soon.

Hi again, SBT,

Interesting. Sometimes, phony gurus seem to be as common as cockroaches.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Everyone who is incapable of learning
**   has taken to teaching." — Oscar Wilde

[another letter from SBT:]

Date: Wed, June 21, 2006 10:43
From: "so beyondthat"
Subject: Re: Another system

For it's hard to spot a trickster when he has his trickery well placed. After all, he is a trickster. Until my next fit...

Take care,

Okay, you too.

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 21:36
From: "Jean B."
Subject: Your Site

Agent Orange,

My take on how you have maintained sobriety — through your website and all the research you have done. You have made this your mission in life and it helps you stay sober. Most people have families to support, kids to raise, and just don't have that kind of time.

Hello Jean,

That is just another false A.A. idea — that you must "have something to maintain sobriety". Like that you must compulsively go to A.A. meetings all of the time, or you must compulsively work on a web site or something, or else you will drink alcohol.

That is simply not true. People can just quit drinking, and go do something else with their lives. They do it every day. They don't have to transfer an addiction to alcohol to something else, and become addicted or obsessed with that. Bill Wilson's favorite line, "The only radical remedy I know for dipsomania is religiomania." is not true at all. You don't have to become obsessed with religion, or Alcoholics Anonymous, or a web site, or anything to stay sober. Just don't drink any alcohol. It couldn't be any simpler.

I stay sober because I don't want to die from alcohol poisoning. I don't want to ever be that sick again. Period. It's just that simple.

And this web site does not "keep me sober". In fact, I went on vacation from it for nearly a whole year a couple of years ago, and went and played in the sun. I didn't relapse. It wasn't a problem. Just feeling good in the sunshine was enough to make me glad that I wasn't sick from alcohol.

You have offered alternatives to AA, but are they any more successful?

What evidence we have says "Yes."

  1. When A.A. trustee Dr. George E. Vaillant tried to prove that A.A. worked, he discovered that A.A. had the highest death rate of any kind of treatment that he studied. ALL of the other treatment programs had lower death rates than Alcoholics Anonymous did. So anything was better than Alcoholics Anonymous.

    And that damning information came from a leader of A.A. who really loves it and still insists that all alcoholics should be shoved into A.A. anyway, even if it will kill them — "The point is that if one cannot cure an illness, one wants to make the patient less afraid and overwhelmed by it." In other words, Vaillant wants the alcoholics to die in A.A. with a serene smiley-face on their heads.

  2. When Doctor Jeffrey Brandsma did a 3-way comparison of A.A. to Rational Behavior Therapy (RBT) and no treatment, A.A. was worse than both. People who had been sent to Alcoholics Anonymous for several months were engaging in FIVE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got no treatment at all, and the A.A. group was doing NINE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got rational behavior therapy.

  3. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. caused alcoholics to get rearrested for public drunkenness more often than "no help or treatment" did.

  4. In England, Doctors Orford and Edwards found that just having a doctor talk to an alcoholic for one hour, telling him to quit drinking or he would die, was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.

  5. Dr. Walsh found that "free" A.A. was often very expensive: It messed up a lot of alcoholics and made them require more expensive hospitalization later.

I agree with a good deal of what you have to say about AA, but have you ever thought that for those that AA might work, you could be scaring a few away, who otherwise cannot maintain their sobriety without AA, and thus kill themselves due to a drunk driving car accident or cirrhosis of the liver? I know you have your statistics, and no matter how unsuccessful AA may be, what about the tiny percentage it could help that you push away?

Excuse me, but what "people for whom A.A. might work"? We just established that A.A. kills more people than it helps.

You speak of Bill W. being a narcissist, and he may well have been, but I get the same tone from your writings. You also strike me as a narcissist.

I will let that ad hominem slide. I think I am beginning to see where you are coming from.

I have made a choice to utilize AA without the steps or a sponsor. The war stories help remind me not to drink and I have made some friends. While you do have one page on the benefits of AA, I feel you are doing AA a dis-service for those who CHOOSE to try it, like I did. No doubt those who have AA or any recovery program forced on them will rebel and relapse. AA has helped me, but if I found your site before I went to AA, I might not have gone and I could well be dead. What makes you so all knowing and so self righteous?

And once again, there is that standard A.A. slur about how "You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety" (by telling the truth). You are assuming that we should not tell alcoholics the truth. (Like Jack Nicholson angrily sneered: "The truth? You can't handle the truth!")

You are assuming that A.A. will somehow help, rather than harm, alcoholics.

You are assuming that A.A. "helped you" — that it somehow made you quit drinking, or "caused you to abstain", or "helped you to abstain".

It is easy to assume a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. Tell me, why did you decide to quit drinking and go to A.A. instead? Isn't that decision what really saved your life?

I do not pretend to be "all knowing". I do know how to read doctors' reports though, and I've read a bunch of them. I also know how to read books, and I've read a bunch of them too.

You strike me as an angry, obsessed narcissist — just like Bill W.

I do resent it when a fake healer lies to my face about what "treatment" might save my life. That is not only insulting; foisting quackery on sick people is in fact a despicable crime.

— Jean B.

P.S. Would not surprise me if you did not publish this letter on your site, just as you accuse AA of covering up their shortcomings.

Well Jean, you got it wrong. I publish almost all of the letters that I get, even angry slurs like yours. (If you had bothered to actually read the letters, even just the first file of them, you would have known that.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*               Agent Orange              *
*          [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
**  An A.A. true believer (Craig S.) babbled:
**  > How many times to I have to explain it to you. Alcohol
**  > is but a symptom, our bottles are but a symbol.
**  No, alcohol is a poisonous clear hydrocarbon solvent
**  that produces intoxication if swallowed in quantity.
**  Drinking alcohol is the cause of alcoholism.
**  There is no other "primary cause" of alcoholism.

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 09:54
From: Natalie A.
Subject: My experience in AA.

In January of 2005 I entered the doors of AA. This was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life. One of the members in the program was a man that had known me from somewhere else and had a crush on me. The program allowed this man to stalk me. I went through two "sponsors" who both spoke to this man giving him details about all of our conversations, allowing him to dictate what I was to be told to do. There was no real help for me here.

When I did not respond correctly to his and the programs deceitful behavior, the next thing I knew he started to date my second and last sponsor and he, with the help of other "sober" alcoholics decided to place surveillance equipment into my home. I am a single mother of 3 children and the next thing I knew all of my personal business, and to let you know I did not follow the keep in touch with other alcoholics up, I would go to a meeting and everyone there would have the information on what went on in my home without me saying a word to anyone.

So much for "principles before personalities, our primary purpose is to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety, and carrying out God's will in every area of our lives."

This program is supposed to be based on honesty and God, I did not see anyone there really working the program that they profess to live by. And as far as God as we understand him, that does not mean make up a God to allow you to live on self will. That is a false god and there are no guidelines or rules to live by, you just want to be a "dry drunk" in my opinion.

I am aiming tell my story to make others aware that this place can be very dangerous. My children have been exposed to the whole program. The A.A. members all know where I live and what schools my children go to. People I have never even spoken to knew all about me and my family. And not one person even bothered to call the Police. This all happened in the Houston and surrounding area. Please contact me and let me know how I may be able to post my story on your page.

Thank you,

Hello Natalie,

Thank you for the story. That's a hair-curler. And it's posted on the web site.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.

[The next letter from Natalie is here.]

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 12:08
From: "David C."
Subject: What is the point of the 12 steps?

im sorry that you feel so strongly against AA and that you had such a bad experience. but in reading through your stuff it doesnt seem like you really grasp the idea of the steps, which really are the program. the message gets lost in meetings, too many people only "think" they know what they are talking about and ruin peoples image of what this is all about. it is unfortunate, but most of them are really only trying to help.

the true message of AA is not about Bill, meetings, slogans, sponsors, making coffee or smoking cigarettes, or any of that. its not a cult or a religion, and it is not about simply "stopping drinking". you dont need to be an alcoholic to have a drinking problem. its about recovering from alcoholism and showing others how they can do it aswell. thats it, very simple. its not about recruiting anyone to our "cult", its about HELPING people. its not about controlling people. i have a sponsor and I sponsor other guys. my sponsor doesnt tell me what to do, he shows me how i can be more effective at helping other people, and i do the same for my sponsees. there is no advice given, no orders. its "this is what i did, this is what i got, if you do what i did youll probably get what i got, its up to you."

i do it because "just not drinking" doesnt work for me, I CAN DO IT, sure — but my life just sucks without my solution. i drink because of the way i feel sober, thats it. when i drink that feeling goes away. it is my solution, not my problem. eventually if i just dont drink, whether its in a few days or a few years, the pain of being sober leads me back to drinking again. i know because its happened to me.

in order to be happy i had to get rid of my resentments and my fears and rely on something greater than myself to help me. i know it sounds silly and culty, but in my experience its all that has ever worked for me. i am not weak, i am happy and i love my life. i am useful and productive, i dont only think about myself all the time.

i am glad that youve found an alternate solution and i hope it continues to work for you. but at the same time i wish you would stop putting down AA. it has many flaws, sure, and most people in it dont know what theyre talking about and unintentionally mislead people because they dont know any better. and the big book i full of inconsistencies, and the founders werent as principled as the message they were carrying. but the steps, the message itself is a good one and helps many people who really want it. please try to see this. and please try to stop being so ignorant toward the steps, i can tell youve never worked them so how do you really know what you are talking about? you yourself are guilty of misinformation, arent you? maybe you should give them a try.. because it doesnt look like your quality of life is so great given youve devoted so much to such a hateful thing.. and im sorry if im being judgemental or jumping to conclusions but it sounds like you have a serious resentment and if its not controlling your life its definately occupying a lot of your time.

well anyway good luck to you, i look forward to reply if you want.


Hello Dave,

Thanks for the letter.

Unfortunately, you are ignoring a lot of glaring facts about A.A. and the true nature of the Twelve Steps:

  1. Yes, Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion. Six of the Twelve Steps talk about God, and how you have to surrender your will and your life to God, and God will save you from Demon Rum, etc. That is a religion. The double-talk about "It's spiritual, not religious" is a meaningless distinction without a difference.

  2. Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult. Read The Cult Test, the whole thing, questions and answers.

  3. I do grasp the real meaning of the 12 Steps. They are nothing other than Frank Buchman's procedures for indoctrinating newcomers to his cult religion.

  4. If you really want to help people, then why don't you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to newcomers about the actual A.A. failure rate, and the real history of Alcoholics Anonymous?

  5. The fact that you feel more comfortable by going to A.A. meetings does not make them good things.

  6. I am not "putting down AA". I am telling the truth about an organization that lies and leads many alcoholics to their doom.

  7. I am not "being so ignorant toward the steps". I know exactly what they are, and they are harmful cult practices. Read about the theology of the Oxford Groups again.

    The Steps may make you feel good, but they kill a lot of other people.

  8. And no, I am not going to "give the Steps a try". That is a standard cult trick, "You aren't qualified to judge our Master's teachings, because you haven't done the practices. But if you just try our ways for a year, you will see that it is all true."

    If you do their practices for a year, you will be so brainwashed that you will believe anything they say.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness
**  would be the supremely valid human experience.
**  —  William James (1842—1910), U.S. psychologist, philosopher.
**   The Varieties Of Religious Experience,
**   lecture 1, "Religion and Neurology" (1902).

[another letter from Natalie:]
[The previous letter from Natalie is here.]

From: Natalie A.
Subject: response to Dave
Date: Sun, June 18, 2006 15:12

Hello Dave,

I have to say that yes resentment is the poison to all alcoholics, however, when you are a single mother of 3 children and your home life is viewed all over the program like the Truman Show how can you not be angry? If someone commits a criminal act towards you which threatens your family's safety are you gonna be ok with that?

Let me tell you, I was at home taking care of my 4 year old daughters fever, she had over 101 her fever was spiking up every couple of hours. My mother and I could not remember if we could alternate Motrin and Tylenol every 2 or 4 hours, call it a brain drain if you will. Anyway, I went to a meeting very shortly after without talking to anyone in the program, a man who had just been let out of jail for possession of child porn informed me when I got there, keep in mind I did not say a word to anyone about the confusion my mother and I had, and he said "Oh and by the way, it's every 2 hours not 4 to alternate." This would not scare you?

Also, God is in several steps. If you have God in your heart you would not do something like this. That is your higher power.

And yes, I will take the time to tell my story. This man followed me by the usage of others in the program to stalk me. He also did some other things to me through others, which I do not want to get into.

And yes I did work the steps, but some things you cannot allow to just drop. I could one day have one of my children missing due to these people.

And when the whole group is involved and no one will say a word to the Police to protect the sick, VERY SICK individual and put 3 children at risk this is a CULT!

From what I read in the steps we are to stop tornadoing through peoples lives and take responsibility for our own actions. I gave them over a year. I am aiming at this because if it could happen to me it could happen to someone else, and worse things could happen to them.

Also in the God aspect, turning it into just Spirituality, anyone can come up with a Power Greater Than Ourselves, this is a false made up God, in doing this we can come up with a vision of God that suits our own will and justify our self centered actions.

Yes it is personal, however one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch if the apple knows and can scare a lot of people because they know he can be vindictive. He has used this to ruin my name because I rejected him and I am living with this day to day. So yes, I am going to reach out and not be a rug. This is wrong and is criminal.

Hi again, Natalie,

Thanks for the letter. Well put.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 12:31
From: "Alison C"
Subject: holy cow

I just read part of your screed here:

I see you have a point of view--you quote all kinds of non-Conference (AA Conference) approved literature (Hazeldon, alt.recovery.aa, Where Did Everybody Go?) to support it. There's also reference to many AA "slogans," and the majority of them are inaccurate.

I wanted to let you know my experience is completely contrary to your point of view. I have never been compelled or forced to do anything I didn't want to. AA has got to be the least cult-y group I've ever run into. They don't hit me up for money, they don't lock me in a room, they don't call me, they don't write to me, they don't starve me, they don't cut me off from my family. People are free to come and go as they please. People are also free to interpret the literature as they choose. People can go to meetings or not go to meetings, get a sponsor or not, work the Steps or not. No one HAS to do anything in AA. It is a program of suggestions. There is no right way or wrong way. You compare it to Scientology & Amway! Two organizations that are notorious for separating people from their money!

I found your site because I was searching for "bone-crushing juggernaut" on Google. I see you have quoted that as well--completely out of context.

Anyway. I am guessing that this email will be in vain, and this a pointless exercise. But I had to say something. I don't know where you came into contact with AA, but I've never run into the program you are describing. I've been to meetings in New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, California and overseas. No one made me go, and no one is making me stay.

I trust that you have found a way to serenity that works for you, as I have for me (AA).


Hello Alison,

By a funny coincidence, the letter that came in immediately before yours tells a very different story of another woman's experiences in Alcoholics Anonymous. Look here.

In fact, I have lots and lots of A.A. horror stories that readers have sent in. Look at these three for starters: here and here and here.

And your protest that I quote non-Conference-Approved literature is as phony as a three-dollar bill. Hazelden is totally devoted to proselytizing for Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step religion. Hazelden publishes hundreds of books that promote 12-Step everything. Hazelden is also the world's largest redistributor of AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous [World] Services, Inc.) Council-approved publications, including the Big Book.

Then, when I quote Hazelden's books to show just how radical and crazy the Steppers are, you protest that they don't count because they aren't "Council-approved". That is just a standard A.A. dodge.

That is the beauty of using front groups: You can have your cake and eat it too when it comes to promoting A.A. — you get all of the benefits of the propagandizing and proselytizing, and then proclaim yourselves innocent and accept none of the blame for the madness.

The truth is, everything that Alcoholics Anonymous members do, including writing and publishing dogmatic 12-Step books through Hazelden, is "the real A.A.". What "the real A.A." actually consists of is not just some "Council-approved" abstact ideal that only exists at the A.A. headquarters. "The real A.A." is not just what some Council says it is. The real A.A. is what the real A.A. members are really doing.

Oh, and now Hazelden is campaigning to get more money from Congress for 12-Step treatment of alcoholics. Such 12-Step treatment centers are, of course, little more than recruiting agencies for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, speaking of money, the 12-Step treatment centers are just as good as Amway or Scientology for separating people from their money. Such treatment centers charge anything from $10,000 to $30,000 for a 28-day-long program that is essentially just one long A.A. meeting. And you can pay that again and again when the treatment doesn't work. (They don't give guarantees.) You can "Keep Coming Back" until you don't have a dime.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
**        — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 18:06
From: "John M."
Subject: is this socially harmful

I was sober for many years and started relapsing about five years ago and have not been able to go over about a year before I start drinking again; these relapses are generally of a couple months duration. I got sober in a non-religious rehab and stayed sober for over 15 years without benefit of A.A. This last relapse I fell and came close to accidentally killing myself and so I started attending A.A. and actually doing the 12 steps.

At first I had a lot of theological problems; especially accepting the fact that a medical problem was being treated by "becoming spiritual", I did not believe that a lack of spirituality is why I drank in the first place so, while it couldn't hurt me, I also didn't see why it would make me able to stay sober.

But despite this reluctance I decided to give it a chance; I did for awhile and I started to feel worse and worse about myself the longer I worked the "program". I eventually realized that the constant harping on the negative was making me depressed and self-loathing (problems I had never had before).

I decided to not actually do the 12 steps (I actually had some deep theological questions about the whole thing anyway which I was ignoring but which gnawed away at me) but to continue to attend for social reasons, companionship, and sometimes just to be around other people who are sober. This is especially true since I had only recently relocated here and hardly no anyone.

See any problems with using the A.A. group in this way?

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter and the question.

Yes, I do see problems with attending A.A. meetings for the companionship.

First off, you are going to be given a lot of misinformation about alcoholism and recovery. Even when you know that it is wrong, it can sort of soak into you anyway, just through the constant repetition and the subtle pressure to conform to the group. Even people who are really nice people will keep on parrotting untrue dogma without even knowing how untrue it is. Things like:

  • Oh, us alcoholics, we are all alike.
  • We are powerless over alcohol after we get triggered.
  • Us alcoholics, we all have short fuses and can't stand frustration.
  • Us alcoholics, we are selfish and self-centered.
  • You will relapse if you don't keep coming back to these meetings.
  • You will relapse if you don't Work A Strong Program.
  • A.A. is the tried and true way.
  • You drank because you have character defects.
  • You need to do a Fifth Step and confess everything.
  • Alcohol made me do it.
  • You need to get a sponsor.
  • We are powerless over alcohol. (That's Step 1.)
  • Higher Power is willing to deliver miracles on demand, just because.
  • Getting work orders by psychic means is normal. (That's Step 11.)
  • Alcoholics are disgusting.
  • Bill Wilson was a genius to make up twelve such perfect steps that can solve all of the problems of the world.
  • People who have more sober time than you do are wiser and more spiritual than you are. When they speak, you should shut up and listen. (It doesn't matter if the old-timer is a child molester, he's still more knowledgeable and more spiritual than you are.)
  • There are zillions more. Look at this list of A.A. tenets for more of what you will hear.

In addition, a lot of people have written to me to say that as soon as they decided to stay sober by doing it their own way, rather than the A.A. way, their former "friends" in A.A. dropped them like a hot potato. They were often ostracized and shunned. Look at this story, and this one, and this one.

So much of the "friendship" that you will be getting in A.A. is conditional — based on your conforming to the A.A. members' expectations.

Now that doesn't mean that you can't go to A.A. meetings and have a good time.

But I couldn't. As soon as they incanted, "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path...", I was feeling frustrated, and thinking, "Jeez Louise! Why won't they ever tell the truth, just for a change?"

So I went to SMART meetings where we could tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

You might want to look for some SMART meetings, by the way. They are an alternative. You might also check out the other alternatives, and see whether you prefer a different flavor or style of sobriety club. I just posted the list in another letter, here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made
** stupid by education." — Bertrand Russell

[2nd letter from John M.:]

Date: Wed, June 14, 2006 11:56
From: "John M."
Subject: addendum to A.A. as a social group

Sorry, but I did not give you my name; It is John. I wrote about using Alcoholics Anonymous as a social group and as to whether there were any inherent dangers in this. Just thought that I would add that I brought up your web-site in a meeting once (stupid thing to do) but was actually surprised at the people who came up after the meeting, one guy with over ten years of sobriety said "You know he is right about most things, but it is a good place to socialize".

I also wanted to ask if you know if Einstein actually said "insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results"? This is the standard answer people in A.A. give when you tell them that you aren't insane.

It is interesting that Bill W. went on to explain insanity in the big book completely differently and saying some people could not get follow the program as they "suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders", it is also an interesting definition of insanity in that anyone who has followed the 12 step program and then relapsed would be "insane" to try it again. I think that A.A. is actually made up of a few "true believers" and the rest of the people are there mostly for social support.

Well thanks for your papers, I enjoy reading them.


Hi John,

I don't know who originated the popular A.A. saying about insanity. I searched through a few web sites of famous quotations, and got zero hits.

What I do know is, if you point out that the Twelve Steps do not work and have never worked for making people quit drinking, and it is insane to keep on doing them and expecting a different result, you don't get any agreement from most true-believer Steppers. :-)

Frank Buchman had a different definition of insanity: He declared that anyone who was living a life based on self-will was insane, and that you could only be restored to sanity by doing the Will of God (as Frank heard God dictating orders). "Sanity is living a life based on God's will, rather than your own." But then it was Frank who got to say just what God wanted, of course.

Bill Wilson repeated the gist of that doctrine, and even today you will hear old-timers declaring that Step Two really means that people get converted to doing the Will of God, rather than wasting their lives doing what they wish to do.

  • To a beginner, the "insanity" term in Step Two means that someone was insanely drinking far too much alcohol, and killing himself.
  • To the true believer old-timer, the "insanity" was living a life not spent "Seeking and Doing the Will of God."

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.
The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 60.

We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 68.

I agree about the mix in A.A. meetings being a few hard-core true believers and a lot of unconvinced people who are there for the sober social club.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** There are some remedies worse than the disease.
**         —  Syrus  42 B.C.

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 18:58
From: "Gordon"
Subject: Great minds think alike.

Hello Orange.

Just browsing your mail at 02:45 local (Glasgow, Scotland) and, reading the letter [that praised the file about Propaganda Techniques], I mentally wrote my reply. Your blue and red reply was identical to mine! Your essay (or should I say "book") on Propaganda and Debating Techniques is a brilliant piece of research and has been printed and circulated here for general education, not just in it's A.A. criticism.

Best Regards,

Hi Gordon,

Wasn't that letter something else? He started off praising the file that exposes propaganda techniques, and then he dove right into using them.

Oh well, whatever.

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Propaganda," Goebbels once wrote,
**  "has absolutely nothing to do with truth."

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 20:52
From: "Mark R."
Subject: goals

Mr. Orange

I love your site...... its complete and comphrehensive..... by the way, what is your ultimate goal in doing the website?

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the compliments. My goals are:

  1. To get the truth out. People should have better information about what is really going on in the "drug and alcohol recovery" field. They should be able to make informed choices. They should know what the real success rate of treatment programs is. They should be able to find out that the much-touted 12-Step program has a horrendous failure rate, rather than being a great success. And they might also want to know that Alcoholics Anonymous has been a fraud and a con since the very beginning.

  2. I want to stop coercive recruiting. There are both medical and Constitutional problems with sentencing alcoholics to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. And again, treatment centers have no business demanding that sick people go to A.A. meetings as part of the "treatment".

  3. I want to stop any government funding of 12-Step programs. Nowhere else, besides in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation field, can incompetent quacks with a proven history of failure collect billions of dollars for foisting the practices of a cult religion on sick people and calling it "treatment". Likewise, the health insurance companies should not have to pay for 12-Step treatment either.

Thanks for the question. Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
** stable world at peril.

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 22:44
From: "soberdove"

You are a fool

Hello Soberdove,

Good morning to you too.
I suppose everybody is entitled to their opinion.

I have often felt like a fool — like when I wasted decades of my life consuming alcohol and tobacco when I could have been doing something much healthier and happier.

But I don't feel like a fool for figuring out the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "My name isn't 'your Higher Power'."   **
**              == GOD                       **

[2nd letter from "soberdove":]

Date: Sat, June 17, 2006 19:06
From: "soberdove"

NICE PHYCOBABLE!!! If you cant get honest or stay sober it isn't A.A.'s fault, just get honest and you may stay sober

I don't suppose it would do much good to tell you that I have 5 1/2 years of sobriety now, would it?

Do you want to be that "rigorously honest", and deal with some actual facts?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
**         — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Date: Mon, June 12, 2006 22:55
From: "R.T.B."
Subject: yo

I got this article off my home page. does this make you suspicious?

For some reason, I am.


Hello again, RTB,

Oh yes, the coffee thing. I love it.

"Coffee May Protect Liver From Alcohol, Study Says"

I don't know yet whether there is any truth to it, but it is definitely entertaining news.

Now, as a coincidence, I seem to be proof that it is true. I was also a hard-core coffeeholic, as well as an alcoholic, and I don't have cirrhosis of the liver. One secretary even accused me of living on legalized speed, because I drank so much strong coffee.

But here is a great place to say that anecdotal evidence is worthless, no matter how good it sounds. Just like the autobiographies in the Big Book don't prove that A.A. works, my personal experiences do not prove the efficacy of coffee for anything (other than staying awake).

I suffered some real damage from alcohol. Brain cells killed, short term memory blown, power of concentration gone. I used to be a computer programmer, but I haven't written a line of code in five years. Those days are over. I get a headache trying to concentrate and think that hard.

I have capillary damage which shows up as "spiders" in the skin and makes the color of the palms of my hands speckled red and white. The doctor says that is some late-stage alcoholism stuff, getting close to death there.

But my liver is in great shape. The doctor was pleasantly surprised when he looked at the results of the lab tests for liver enzymes and blood proteins. Everything was right in the middle of the correct range. The doctor complained that my liver is a little enlarged, as he poked his fingers into my belly. But no cirrhosis. The liver is just fine. I'll live forever.

So did coffee save me? That's pretty far-fetched.

My immediate reaction is that it is wishful thinking to imagine that coffee will save your liver from alcohol. (I can just see the guys under the bridge saying, "Hey pass that whiskey and latté over here, Jeb.")

But I've heard crazier things.

I hope they do some more really stringent studies, and figure this one out. It is just too interesting to forget about.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Heisenberg said, "I'm not really sure if *
**   that even was Shrödinger's cat. I think he    *
**   might have used somebody else's cat..."  *

Date: Tue, June 13, 2006 10:53
From: "James G."
Subject: I hope you respect my choice.

I have been considering for sometime the future of the Blamedenial website. It is with some sadness that I have to announce the site will cease to be 'live' from September the 1st 2006. I will remain contactable until that date and I shall continue to post letters. However from September the 1st my [email protected] email will no longer work. I shall then allow the time left on the server contract to run its course and Blamedenial will 'die' when that runs out.

I have not reached this decision because I have changed my views on AA or the 12 Steps. I have been listening to those people closest to me that I respect and whose counsel I trust wholeheartedly. I have also listened to myself. Being an addict is a chapter, an episode, in my life that I want to leave behind. By continuing my work with Blamedenial I am only keeping that alive. To borrow a phrase from our friends in AA, Blamedenial has been a 'bridge to normal living' for me; it is not my life, and neither can it ever be. When I made the decision to question AA I had to hide away for three months, leaving myself at the door of every room I walked into, and sites like the Orange Papers and my work for Blamedenial gave me a sense of connection with people that I needed at that vulnerable time. However this electronic medium of communication is not what I envisage life to be about. I need to build healthy relationships with people who I know, and do it face to face. I never imagined Blamedenial would have almost 12,000 visitors in the 8 weeks it has been online. I cannot commit to this and as such I feel it is only fair to make my intentions known before the site attracts even more visitors. When I uploaded it for the first time I thought a couple of my friends might view it — and that was it. I never really pushed it; it was all our visitors that did. Thank you.

All the letters I have received, even the ones questioning this and myself, have all served their purpose. The messages of support have acted as a great strength to me during those bouts of horrendous self doubt we all experience, and those that have challenged, have had the effect of reinforcing my beliefs. My intention with the site was to act as the UK portal for the ideas that the Orange Papers put so aptly, but in all honesty, everything we need to know is contained within those papers. The UK will catch on to these ideas when it is ready, and I have a feeling that time is approaching. As selfish as this may sound, I want to live my life now, without the label of being an addict and without the fear (and consequently the control) that gives the people around me. Blamedenial taught me that I did not have to say the 'right' thing to be respected and alleviate that fear, but rather all I had to do was be true to myself. For 9 years I have been James the addict and if I continue to run this site, I will forever be remembered as that. I would quite like to go back to being James. Full stop. For a time, the anger I felt towards all the guilt that AA induced in me was my motivation for doing this, but I have to let that go now. AA harmed me, and I am sure it has harmed others, but I feel any victory at this stage would be a pyrrhic one. If I can find my truth, then I have every faith that anyone else can, provided they want to. Many of you will see this as retreating, but it is not; it is my method of going forwards, of putting the past where it belongs — in the past — something I have failed to do for too long now. I feel as though I have been in conflict with either society or myself since the age of 19 — I have been exhausted by this fight. I want to find communion and a healthy place in this world. Leaving rehab for the second time with all the questions surrounding my ability to do 'this', trying to keep my head held high was not easy, but my efforts have paid off.

My message to anyone questioning AA is still the same, believe in yourself, believe you can do what you need to and you will achieve it. Don't get drunk and don't get high, but you don't have to tear yourself apart in order to achieve this. Bottom line, live! On some level the web acts as a fantasy — I could retreat to it when I wanted and make it whatever I needed it to be and get absorbed in that false hue of perfection. Reality is better in my experience, despite all its faults. Although the fact the pain is real, the pleasures are also that much more real, and with that, they are more meaningful. There is little risk in cyber space and if the old adage is true, and you do indeed get what you put into life, then I need to take more risks, and these risks must be carried out not on the web, but in reality, where the consequences are real, and thus felt. Perhaps that is the most important lesson this 'bridge to normal living' has taught me. I am untouchable for the most part on here, but it has never been my intention to be so; I want to feel all the world has to show me. I have the confidence these days to take that risk — I no longer need to hide. AA reduced my decisions to being dictated by fear, but it is hope that influences my choices today. And should I make a mistake, so be it; it will be mine — I am responsible for my life again.

Thank you all for your support and I hope that you can find it in yourselves to understand my decision.

J a m e s G

PS All that is written above might suggest I do not agree with other sites that do what Blamedenial intended to do, but that is not the case. Agent Orange serves a purpose and without him I would not be free of this. Enough said.

Hi James,

Thanks for all of the compliments.

I think I understand pretty well how you are feeling. I walked away from the Orange Papers web site for almost a year, and went and played in the sun. I now call that a phase of "recovery from recovery". I just got tired of the negativity and the arguing about A.A., so I went and worked on my suntan and fed a bunch of ducks and geese.

Really, do we all have to spend the rest of our lives just talking about drinking and recovery? That is one of the problems with Alcoholics Anonymous. We don't have to duplicate that mistake. We can just walk out the door and get on with our lives.

Have a good life and a good time.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
**      - Voltaire  1694-1778


[another letter from James G.:]

Date: Wed, June 14, 2006 17:06
From: "James G."
Subject: Last video for Blamedenial


You get a mention on this and I thought you might like to see it.


Thank you (once again) for all your effort.

J a m e s G

Okay, James, got it. Thanks, and you're welcome.

Date: Tue, June 13, 2006 11:11
From: Terry
Subject: AA

You can mention all of the stats you want.

The fact is, AA has helped millions to get and stay sober... also attain serenity, sanity, etc...


Hi Terry,

Well, that's an interesting attempt to avoid all of the facts and hard evidence that you don't like.

"Don't bother me with mere facts; I have my opinions."

Well, let's see your evidence. What do you have that shows that A.A. actually helps more alcoholics than it kills with misinformation about alcoholism and psychologically harmful practices?

And wouldn't that be some more of those statistics that you don't believe in?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The belief which we find thus questionable, both as being
** a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an
** almost-extinct family, is a belief that is not countenanced
** by a single fact.
**   ==  Herbert Spencer, Principles of Biology,
**        Volume 1, page 336, published 1864 to 1867.

Date: Tue, June 13, 2006 19:35
From: "maureen g."
Subject: did aa ruin my life — or did i?

Dear Orange:

I grew up in an alcoholic home and was indoctrinated at a very early age w/alatot, alateen. Surprise! I'm 44 yrs old now and have been a full-blown alcoholic for many years now. I've been to 3, 4, 5 rehabs, including Hazelden (supposed to be the " best"). AA has just never worked for me.

I've had every conceivable crappy thing happen to me as far as "recovery", like I see mentioned, Sad, very sad, and funny too. The last rehab that I was in, the "counselor" made us sit and listen to Whitney Houston records. I could go on forever.

I'm still drinking, but just starting to seek out other ways of getting sober. Smart looks promising. Your site has been, well, I'm speechless actually. You're fucking brilliant. I can't thank you enough, honestly. It always hurt so much when I would read about some celebrity or something thanking the heavens for AA. I always felt like such a dismal failure... Now, maybe there really is something else. I might not be that young anymore but maybe I dont have to die drunk and alone. I hope that its not too late for me.

Much love, Maureen

Hi Maureen,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and congratulations on hanging in there and fighting for your life. Yes, you can win.

Your situation isn't hopeless at all. As long as you can still get up and type a letter on a computer, you aren't dead yet. There is still hope.

You sure don't need to feel like a failure because the A.A. program didn't work for you. It doesn't actually work for anybody. What happens is that a few people quit drinking by using their own self-control and will power, and then they give the credit to A.A. while loudly yammering ridiculous nonsense about how the 12 Steps made them quit.

Yes, SMART is promising. It has a lot of good things going for it. Like that you can tell the truth, and they will tell the truth to you, too. (That is a big one for me.)

I also like Jack Trimpey's thing about "The Beast". (That is "Rational Recovery".) I wrote up something very similar here: The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. Understanding how that little rat works has been a huge help in avoiding relapses.

As I see it, withdrawal from an addiction happens in two distinct phases.

Phase 1 is just detoxing and getting unhooked. Going through DTs, or not. Going through all of the pain and discomfort and disorientation and anxiety.

Phase 2 is after all of the withdrawal pain stops and you are getting comfortable in your new state. That little voice in your head starts yammering, "Oh we have it under control now. We have a handle on it. It's been so long since we've had one; we can have just one now, for old time's sake. It will be okay."

If you believe him, you will relapse every time.

I learned the hard way, from 30 years of quitting smoking and two times of quitting drinking, that you can't believe a word that the lying little monster says. He will say absolutely anything to get you to pick up a drink or a cigarette.

You mentioned that you are 44 years old. Coincidentally, you are just about exactly 10 years younger than I was when I quit. Oh do I wish I had quit ten years earlier. Most all of the really heavy-duty irreparable damage from alcohol happened in the last 10 years. The damage increases exponentially as you get older. You just don't heal like you used to. I would be in much, much better shape now, physically, if I had quit at 44 instead of 54. Please quit sooner, rather than later.

SMART isn't the only alternative, by the way. It is good and I strongly recommend it, but you also have a regular smorgasbord of non-cult groups available for advice, help, or companionship, including chat groups and message boards on the Internet. They have lots of different flavors. You really can just take what you want and leave the rest.

Here is my list:

Good luck, have fun, have a good life, and have a good day today even.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several
** times the same good things for the first time.
** ==  Friedrich Nietzsche

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Last updated 23 January 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters54.html