Letters, We Get Mail, LVII

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 10:37
From: "Pete K."
Subject: AA High Priests

A. Orange,

Just read your article The Hazelden Coffee War. You have a number of interesting points to consider and I appreciate your basic theme.

My amateur observations on the critical side are that as you bash AA (high priests for instance) you drive the wedge between good AA and good medicine deeper and deeper. High priests would call certain folks quacks and the war would continue.

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the letter. But hold on right there — What "good A.A."? A.A. has a zero percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission coupled with the worst death rate of any treatment program. So what is good about it?

A.A. also raises the rate of binge drinking enormously, and Dr. Diana Walsh found that A.A. messed up a lot of alcoholics so that they required more expensive hospitalization later on.

That is not good.

I have become fascinated by those, like you, who choose to attack AA. and those in AA who attack other alcoholism help beyond AA. If we all put as much energy into solutions as we do divisions, maybe we who need help can have more and better help? We do not need turf wars and emotional criticism in the air while we die from our illness.

It is not a turf war. Alcoholics Anonymous is really bad quack medicine that kills patients.

I think it is easy for anyone to have issues, but much more difficult to address solutions.

Try this list of alternatives, here. We have been over this before.

Besides which, quackery should be criticized, even if you don't have a working alternative. If someone is selling witchcraft and voodoo medicine as a cure for cancer, shouldn't we expose and denounce the quackery, even if we don't have a 100% sure-fire cure to offer as an alternative?

Of course we should.

I tell my AA story to Vanderbilt residents twice a year along with a number of other AA members. It is a wonderful exchange of viewpoints all focused on potential solutions. We appreciate the leaders who bring us all together in the same rooms.

And it has become a genuine growth course for me to sponsor doctors and psychiatrists along with the unemployed laborers. We have many AA's who are heavily involved in many "other" potential remedies or helpers (virtual reality for instance to help the treatment processes).

No matter how much you enjoy the social events and sponsoring others, A.A. is still a cult religion that kills more people than it saves.

Anyway — thanks again for the theme.

Pete K.

You have a good day too.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 14:17
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Re: Addictive Personalities & Moral Bankruptcy

Hi Again, A. Orange!

Your experiences growing up with an alcoholic parent, could really give you an awareness of why all that serene acceptance of any realities including any that alcoholics in the family had caused, is totally out-of-balance! Yet I'm sure that those in Al-Anon/Ala-Teen don't care how much "In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You," is obviously out-of balance!

Hi again, Sharen,

Yes, you understand the situation correctly. Having been an abused and terrorized child makes me hypersensitive to the issue of child abuse, and the insane stupidity of allowing the situation to continue (which is what my mother did).

Also, is there any reason why you send your responses to e-mails, as HTML attachments? Attachments tend to be how computer viruses are sent around, so plenty of virus-checking software has screened-out attachments, a lot of people would be afraid to open them, etc.

Yes, I have several reasons. First off, let me rephrase your last sentence: strange attachments and web pages with malicious javascript code or gimicked images are how some criminal bastards send viruses to other people who run Micro$uck operating systems, but I am not one of those criminal people. In addition, I run Linux, so there is no way that I can get infected with a Micro$uck virus and spread it to others. (Not all operating systems are as badly written and insecure as Billy's abortions.)

I write in HTML because it saves me the labor of typing answers to letters twice. The same text that goes into the letter to the correspondent also goes into a web page on my web site. In addition, there isn't any other easy way to fix the font colors so that letters to me are black and my responses are blue, and to add the formatting like fonts and indents. And then the links are impossible outside of HTML. I often like to point to something in another of my files, and say, "more information is here".

So there are just a lot of advantages to writing in HTML.

And regarding Niebuhr's ideas and how morally bankrupt they are, Reinhold Niebuhr, a biography, by Richard Wightman Fox, says that in the last half of the 1930s Niebuhr had almost a cult following among young Christians in England, giving a student conference at Swanwick. Among his fans (not his detractors) a favorite limerick was:

At Swanwick when Niebuhr had quit it
A young man exclaimed "I have hit it!
Since I cannot do right
I must find out tonight
The right sin to commit — and commit it."

Also, the entry on Niebuhr in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001 ( http://www.bartlebee.net/65/ni/NiebuhrR.html (Dead Link, Domain Name Lost.)), says that he "defended Christianity as the world view that best explains the heights and barbarisms of human behavior." And that explanation of the barbarisms, was a very stereotypically German conception of the ineradicability of aggression. Books against this conception are very likely to cynically compare it to the Doctrine of Original Sin, which was Niebuhr's favorite.


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

That stuff about Niebuhr is interesting. I'll have to check it out.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.
**    — William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

[another letter from Sharen:]

Date: Sat, July 8, 2006 5:16 pm
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Re: your letter to the Orange Papers

Hi Again, A. Orange!

First off, regarding why your mom didn't divorce your violent dad, do you know why she didn't? Divorce could be very problematic for a woman with children. You've probably heard the term, "the feminization of poverty," which first took place in the 1980s, when both the Sexual Revolution and feminism said that women shouldn't feel obligated to stay in bad marriages, yet how our economy affected divorcees didn't change. The hippies led this freedom from the restrictions of marriages, and the hippies didn't mind living in poverty. I don't know if your dad was a functional alcoholic, and if so, how much money he made. Yet I'd imagine that divorce probably would have disrupted your family greatly. Added to this is the fact that since our economy so penalizes divorce especially for the ex-wives, many of them would try very hard to make their marriages work, including taking their husbands' word for it when they sincerely say that they'll try to change.

My father was a career sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and he was an underpaid functional alcoholic, like so many in the military. He was actually highly functional, and very good at his job. He made it to the very top of the ranks — he got as many stripes on his arm as it was possible to get. His brain didn't degenerate from alcohol until the end of his drinking career.

Unfortunately, he was also simultaneously insane and vicious and violent. But that condition existed before the alcoholism got bad. I think it was more the cause of his alcoholism.

The time was in the 50's and 60's, and in those days, people didn't divorce like they do today. In fact, it was a stigma — failure to make a family. "There must be something wrong with the woman."

For a lot of years, my mother just kept hoping that things would get better. They didn't. They got worse.

My mother finally did divorce him, after I had left home, when he retired from the military and become a full-time drinker and really went off the deep end. I would have preferred it if she had made that move about 20 years earlier. But I understand the predicament she was in — both social and economic. Plus she was in denial and doing a lot of wishful thinking.

Sure, I realize that you're not a criminal scuzzbag who writes computer viruses. Yet I've had enough problems with people not getting my e-mails simply because they contained pictures, that I'd like to find every way possible to avoid attachments. As for me, how I get HTML into my e-mails, is that I write what I want on a webpage in Microsoft Front Page, and then simply copy the text onto an e-mail in Outlook Express. I don't know how Linux and its programs work, but I'd think that if you used the copy function to copy whatever you've written with your webpage program, then when you paste it into an e-mail, that would include all HTML formatting that you put in the original.

I have also had messages blocked, like when I tried to send some requested files to a TV reporter and the firewall into his organization blocked the HTML pages.

But in general, it isn't a problem. What we really need is two things:
1. smarter email programs that can scan incoming mail and check for malicious code or gimicked image files. Just assuming that all HTML pages are bad is simplistic and stupid.
2. smarter operating systems (meaning Micro$uck) that are not vulnerable to every virus and trojan horse that wanders down the street.

You don't see the Linux users complaining about email viruses or trojan horses or worms, because it isn't a problem. The big security hole is in the way that Micro$uck systems will automatically execute any code or instructions that they find in a document or image. That is totally insane, suicidally stupid, but that's how Billy does it, as a "convenience to the user" — "automatically helping him".

So if there is a macro in a Microsoft Word document, it gets run when you look at the document. (They might have modified or fixed that somewhat lately, because there were just so many bad macros going around.)

Likewise, if there is any Javascript code in a web page, it gets run. Now that one is true of both Microsoft and Linux browsers. However, the Linux system security is good, and won't let a javascript routine hurt the operating system or the hard disk. Microsoft will.

The latest big discovery was that Micro$uck is so stupid that the operating system's code for displaying images actually tries to execute any instructions that it finds in the header — in the start of the image file. That means that if you just look at a page on a malicious web site that contains a gimicked image, that your system will get infected and taken over by a virus as it downloads and displays the image on your screen.

That is flat-out insane. Pictures are things that you look at and display, not programs that you run. You don't give control of the computer to a byte pattern that you find in an image. But Micro$uck does, and with your computer.

So you see, the problem is not in emailing web pages. The problem is that Microsoft's programmers literally do not have a clue when it comes to system security. Their systems have as many security holes as Swiss cheese. The criminals and virus-writers really have an easy time of it with Microsoft.

For example, my e-mail program doesn't do framing, highlighting, etc., so if I want to incorporate any of that into my e-mails, I type the text into my webpage program, then just copy and paste it into my e-mails.

What I do is even easier, and since I run Linux, it just isn't a problem. I am in no danger, and what I do does not endanger Micro$uck users either.

And links are don't work, or are very messy, without HTML.

Have a good day!


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

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Micro$uck Corporation, maker of the most
**   virus-vulnerable software in the world,
**   announced that they are going to provide a
**   new subscription service — protecting you
**   from viruses and worms.  In other words,
**   for a fee, protecting you from their own
**   stupid mistakes.

[another letter from Sharen:]

Date: Sun, July 9, 2006 12:44 pm
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Chronically Manic Personalities

Hi Again, A. Orange!

One thing that you wrote in your attachment, "Unfortunately, he was also simultaneously insane and vicious and violent. But that condition existed before the alcoholism got bad. I think it was more the cause of his alcoholism," confirms an impression that I got of you from the very beginning. You've probably noticed than my e-mail signature says, "Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk." I got the impression that you have the positive qualities of chronically manic personalities, which science calls "hyperthymic" personalities, and your dad sounds like he had the negative qualities of them.

In essence, what hyperthymics tend to look like, is the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, charismatic smart and creative, but also tending to have plenty of artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, such as boozing, doping, irascibility, flamboyant eccentricities, and irresponsibility. If you surrounded yourself with all of the celebrities who attract hordes of groupies, you sure would tend to associate with people who have artistic-temperament-style behavior problems, so you could very easily seem to have a subconscious codependent attraction to artistic-temperament-style behavior problems. Yet the only groupies who are attracted to the boozing and doping, are those who want to share the booze and dope.

In essence, we tend to fit both the positive (very caring) and the negative (very uncaring) stereotypes of artists, though these might look like exact opposites of each other. From the beginning, you've come across to me as fitting the positive stereotypes of artists, in that you're aware of, and give a %$#@ about, some very consequential things that most people don't have that sort of empathy about. I have several webpages on hyperthymic personalities, the main ones being at http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/AboutUsSumm.htm and http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/About_Us.html.

And if any behavior pattern intuitively comes across as "insane," then it probably is. Not only that, hyperthymics could often be impulsive, and that impulsivity often leads to booze and/or dope problems. The webpage "hyperthymic personality disorder," at http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/cache/-986382297.htm, defines this as, "Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorders are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal. They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement." That's also what an "addictive personality" looks like.

And this could be one reason why many of those married to addicts, such as your mom and those considered codependent, could seem to be "in denial" about their spouses' getting control over their own addictions. Most of the time, these people could come across as being at least normal enough that they'd at least be able to know better. Since drug and alcohol abuse is so obviously self-destructive, it's understandable that some think that those with drug and alcohol problems should be able to see the dangers. If most people took the same prescription painkillers that Rush Limbaugh became addicted to, they'd simply do whatever it took to get over any physical dependence to the drugs, and could never become overcome by temptations to relapse. Naturally these people would figure that addicts should want to make things get better for themselves. A few days ago, I heard someone describe the wife of a hyperthymic guy who's nice most of the time but every now and then does some very cynical things, as being "in denial" about his cynical tendencies.

Yesterday I e-mailed a British dude about those webpages of mine. I ordered from him some Al-Anon jewelry that he makes by hand, from his website. His software wasn't working right, so while he got my e-mail address and the fact that I'd paid for it, he didn't get either exactly what I ordered, or my postal address. I e-mailed him, with my signature about chronically manic personalities. His e-mail back to me began "yeah..I know what you mean !!," which I guess refers to the signature. I therefore e-mailed him about these webpages. Since he makes AA and related jewelry, he must have at least some familiarity with addicts, or is one, and it's very likely that this has to do with his affinity for hyperthymic personalities, or has one himself.

Also, I'd imagine that those with careers in the military would be unusually likely to be aggressive hyperthymics. While I realize that the Iraq invasion may not be typical, I'd think that the decision-makers who'd fit in best with it, are those who are very prone to getting agitated, and who are oblivious to the consequences of their own behavior, with plenty of excuses handy, such as "Stop whining like an untermensch!".


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

Hi again, Sharen,

Thanks for the letter. It isn't every day that I get a free psychoanalysis. I shall have to think about that for a while. Some of it sounds right, but I'm not sure about the whole diagnosis. I shall have to read some more.

Have a good day.

== 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

[another letter from Sharen:]

Date: Sun, July 16, 2006 6:58 pm
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Your Insight

Hi Again, A. Orange!

Regarding your attachment,

Thanks for the letter. It isn't every day that I get a free psychoanalysis. I shall have to think about that for a while. Some of it sounds right, but I'm not sure about the whole diagnosis. I shall have to read some more.

I really do think that the best way for you to see this, is to look at all the ways in which you must have noticed that you're different from most people. You must have realized that you have a great deal of insight into, and awareness of, moral issues, exactly the sort that artists are known for. I'm sure you've realized to what degree average people lack that!


Hi again Sharen,

Well, I noticed something like that, in everything from the Vietnam War to the current situation where almost one sixth of the American people voted for George Bush. But I didn't think that made me special. I thought it made them stupid.

== Orange

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 14:49
From: "keneth d."
Subject: 12 step slogans/deceivingly destructive

A true example of "stinking thinking" == an individual constantly going to some clique cult group and eternally "name-calling" themselves and to, a certain extent, all others present. Is this really taking action toward problem-solution??? i strongly doubt.

Thanks for website

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 15:25
From: "keneth d."
Subject: larger isues

Some larger issues behind the atrocities (Alcohol abuse, and Alcoholics Anonymous) could very well be a society (as a whole), medical and psychological organizations being unable and/or unwilling to really do serious research in order to make an impact on the overall problem.

thanks for web site

Date: Thu, June 29, 2006 08:52
From: "keneth d."
Subject: never cured

As portrayed in the AA literature,"we are never cured". That surely is a low grade for the entire program and and its concept of the supernatural. Thanks for the site

Hi again, Keneth,

and thanks for the notes. Yes, the refusal of the medical establishment to really deal with the problem, and their continuing to push quackery and cult religion as "treatment" for addictions is appalling. You have to wonder what is the matter with their heads.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done
** it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
** ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 19:22
From: "ARID Site"
Subject: Re: A.A.'s Twelve Steps

A.A. still has the Twelve Steps listed on its website. Their redesign killed existing links though:


I learned the hard way when I was trying to snag some documentation showing how A.A. aggressively recruits through the criminal justice system. It would be nice if A.A. would archive its Triennial Surveys though. But then, in an Orwellian way, that would mean that A.A. would have to be held accountable for the past and what's going on in the present. No wonder they don't keep online archives of such pertinent information (well, the AA Grapevine digital archive is a start but lacking in regards to statistical data).

Anyhow, there is a search box at the top of the screen above A.A.'s gaudy homepage Flash animation.

And be well and live well one LIFETIME at a time! :-)

dr.bomb, Ph.D. AVRT(tm) \_____________________________
Editor of The ARID Site * http://www.thearidsite.org *
<The Addiction Recovery Information Distribution Site>
PGP keys at: <http://www.thearidsite.org/ARIDPGPK.TXT>
** Addiction counseling and groups are total frauds **

Hi again, Dr. Bomb,

Thanks for the tip. Speaking of historical archives, another letter that just came in pointed to another one. Check out this letter.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries or distinctions of race.
**    == Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 20:08
From: "karen d."
Subject: info


While I was perusing your site I noticed that you said all recovery home were funded by taxpayers money or they charged exorbitant fees such as Hazelton at $15,000. For the most part that is true. However, FYI there two right here in Southern California that run ONLY ON PRIVATE DONATIONS AND NO CHARGE TO THE CLIENT.

Just thought you should know as much info as possible so you can spout the truth (sometimes).

I have been sober and clean for over 15 years and don't go to meetings and haven't for about 7 years now, but I don't think AA is a cult, it was what I needed at the time and I would encourage anyone with a problem to try it out. I will not get into a debate with you, but some of your "facts" are not facts, they are misrepresentations. Please continue to do what you are doing. It is needed.


Hello Karen,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the compliments.

I know that there are treatment centers that do not charge the patient. Heck, I went to one. There, a cocaine-snorting child molester taught us to "have a Higher Power in our recovery program", and to go to three meetings a week, and the bill for such "treatment" went to city, state, and federal agencies and health insurance plans. (Often with double-billing.) The so-called "counselors" were still a bunch of money-grubbing criminals, but they did not charge me a penny. It was the taxpayers who got cheated. (Well of course! Who has the most money? A down-and-out alcoholic, or the government?)

Are you really 100% certain that the two clinics that you mention do not get any money from health insurance or government grants? Or from any other taxpayer-supported agencies? Have you examined their books or their income statements to discover how they really finance their activities?

The fact that you liked A.A. and feel that you benefited from it doesn't change the facts that A.A. is a very harmful organization that kills more people than it saves. It really messes up a lot of alcoholics.

There will always be some people, like yourself and me, who are just destined to quit drinking and save their own lives, no matter what kind of a crazy program they end up in. But that still leaves a large pile of dead bodies over in the corner.

If you have any other issues you wish to explore, I'm open. I do not print "misrepresentations". I am above all interested in the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, because the lives of friends and acquaintances are on the line here.

Have a good day.

== 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, July 8, 2006 6:50 pm
From: "~ karen ~"
Subject: RE: your letter to the Orange Papers


I AM ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY sure that the two that I am talking about take no insurance, tax payer or any other money other than private donations, and yes, I have checked the book, as a matter of fact. Only money from those that CHOOSE to donate to these two programs. It is absolutely free to the clients and to the taxpayers and the insurance companies. they do that for a reason, that way no one can tell them that they have to do something a certain way. These are called social model detoxes and recovery homes. Again, NO MONEY from anyone except those that choose to donate.


Hi again, Karen,

Okay, I'll take your word for it that they are somehow surviving solely on contributions. That is a very, very unusual treatment center.

Now the next question is, "Is their ulterior motive to recruit more members for the 12-Step cult religion?"

And then, "If they are using the 12-Step treatment on their patients, are they actually killing more people than they are saving?"

Now if they are not foisting 12-Step quackery on sick people, then they are really unusual treatment centers and I would like to hear more about them.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 22:14
From: "Trish R."
Subject: treatment availability — Mental Health v. Drug

Dear Orange,

I was watching the Andrea Yates re-trial on Court TV. Even though she was diagnosed with serious mental illness before she killed the kids [prescribed antidepressants & antipsychotics], the only inpatient treatment her insurance covered was a few days at a facility whose focus was treatment for drug users. [Keep in mind that at the time Rusty worked for NASA; you'd think he'd have decent insurance].

While science has improved diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases, access to such treatment is getting harder to come by — even with insurance. Meanwhile, the mental health parity movement is working to change state laws to force health insurance to cover drug treatment for as long as the insured would like to spend in the facility.

I suspect that wherever "mental health parity" becomes law, that people like Andrea Yates are not going to find it easier to get the evidence-based scientific medicine that they need. And that drug rehab centers will multiply like fungus.

The thing that bothers me the most about this issue is that there is no evidence to support [and some evidence to the contrary] that expensive celebrity inpatient like Promises do any better at keeping people from drinking than a free AA meeting in the nearest church basement. So why should our already-frail insurance system [that excludes many working adults and many children] be forced to pay for the expensive places?

Trish R.

Hello Trish,

Thank you for the letter. I couldn't agree more. The treatment centers are where the 12-Step cult stops being "a free self-help group" and becomes just another money-grubbing con. The so-called "recovery industry" is a $6.2 billion per year racket that does not sober up America. — And doesn't solve the drug problems, either.

I have a web page that gives instructions on how to email your Senators and Congressperson to oppose the "HEART" bill that demands that the con artists get even more money. Please send some emails, and tell our politicians that it is time for the government to stop paying frauds and charlatans to foist quack medicine and cult religion on sick people. Demand that drug and alcohol treatment programs be tested, just like all other medical treatments are, to eliminate the ineffective cures and quack potions.

And have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, June 27, 2006 22:17
From: "Ruby L."
Subject: motivation for 12 step article

I have read your article on the effectiveness of the 12 step program. I am desperately seeking help for my alcoholic husband who is having serious medical problems (pancreatis). He committed himself to hospital detox and treatment but is hesitant to embrace the 12 step programs they espouse. It is a well respected program. My question to you is who are you and what is your background? Can I trust your assessment? My husband would work with his councelor one on one and I need to know that if I agree to this I am not putting him in additional harm.

Any insight into your motivation would be helpful.


Hello Ruby,

Thank you for the letter.

About biographical information, I have answered that question several times before. Here is the usual list of autobiographical information:

About my motivation — I just want to get the truth out there. As you read in the introduction, I went through a treatment program and was shocked to find that cult religion is being sold as treatment for a life-threatening illness. — Even here in the USA, in the 21st century.

Can you trust my assessment? Well I think so, because I try very hard to be correct and accurate, and I seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But of course I might be a little bit biased. So use your own judgement.

Personally, I don't blame your husband for being hesitant to embrace the 12-Step routine. It doesn't work; it just raises the death rate in alcoholics, and it is a grossly heretical cult religion. A.A. has also displayed several other nasty side effects like causing:

Another thing that your husband may well object to is the contempt that Alcoholics Anonymous actually feels towards alcoholics. That may seem contradictory, because A.A. claims that it loves alcoholics and exists to help them, and A.A. has slogans like, "Let us love you until you can love yourself."
But it is true. A.A. actually has great contempt for alcoholics and treats them in an arrogant condescending manner. The founder of A.A., Bill Wilson, had great problems with self-hatred, so he projected his hatred onto a stereotypical alcoholic, and declared, "Look at how disgusting he is."
See the file "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for a long list of A.A.'s slurs and sneers at alcoholics.

You said that the program in question is "well respected". Respected by whom? What do they know? How truthful are they? Do they have an ulterior motive or an ax to grind? Do they have a financial interest in the treatment center? (Watch out for that use of the passive voice — that is a popular propaganda trick.)

All of the treatment centers brag that they are great, even if they are terrible frauds that dispense quackery. They routinely deceive and exaggerate to create an impression of success that they don't get. Read this description of treatment center deceit.

You might also read this woman's experiences with Seven rehabs, seven chances to get cheated, and another fellow's experiences — Another AA/NA horror story: First, a sponsor seduces the guy's girl-friend, then the group seduces his 15-year-old god-son; then, years later, another A.A. group nearly destroys his marriage.

There are non-cult-religion alternatives, you know. Check this list:

Good luck, and if I can be of any help, please don't hesistate to write again.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while
**  nature cures the disease.
**    ==  Voltaire (1694- 1778)

Date: Wed, June 28, 2006 13:44
From: Margo M
Subject: The Big Lie Continues

Dear Orange,

I have followed your site for years. You have done a fantastic job researching and shedding light on one of the Big Lies of our age — the lie that 12 step based treatment works. I am a Hazelden alum who experienced (and survived) the Big Lie. After my 28 days, I gave up drinking on my own and went on to simply live my life taking care of my family and pursuing my interests. No spiritual awakening, no moral inventory, no meetings. Just a life full of pursuits of my own choosing.

A few days ago, the New York Times published an article about pharmaceutical treatments for addiction being developed using cutting edge brain research. The following quote was published, probably in the interests of balance:

"John Schwarzlose, the president of the Betty Ford Center, says he isn't convinced that treating alcoholics and drug addicts with more drugs — particularly if they aren't proved effective — is a good idea. He points out that millions of addicts around the world have recovered without the help of medication. "We're open to medications that will actually work, but the fact is that today 12-step treatment is still the best treatment there is," he told me. "Nothing even comes close. And until something does, we like to try to keep most of our patients as drug-free as possible.""

This statement went completely unchallenged in the article. I particularly liked the "treatments with no proven effectiveness" part. Could he be any more disingenuous? Will we ever escape the 12 step propaganda machine? The work you do in exposing the AA machine is very important. People need to see that the power to defeat the addiction beast is within them. They do not need "support" from proto-fascist groups filled with sociopaths.

Keep up the good work.

Margo M.

Hi Margo,

Thanks for the tip. And thanks for the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety.

I looked up that article, and immediately wrote this letter to the editor at the New York Times:

Dear People,

The NYT Magazine published, on June 25, an article "An Anti-Addiction Pill?", which discussed pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism.

A comment from John Schwarzlose, the president of the Betty Ford Center, declared, "... the fact is that today 12-step treatment is still the best treatment there is. Nothing even comes close."

The author of the article, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, did not challenge that statement. He should have. That statement is so untrue that it is the exact opposite of the truth. The 12-Step treatment is a proven failure. Nothing is worse. Even no treatment or help at all is better than the 12 Steps.

Every time Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-Step program have been put to the test in valid medical studies, it has failed miserably. Dr. Jeffrey Brandma found that A.A. greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics — alcoholics sent to A.A. were doing five times as much binge drinking as those who got no treatment or help, and nine times as much bingeing as those who got Rational Behavior Therapy. Dr. Keith S. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests in street drunks over those who got no help. Dr. Diana C. Walsh found that A.A. really messed up some alcoholics and made them require more expensive treatment later.

The most damning information of all came from a doctor who is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., Doctor and Professor of Psychology at Harvard University George E. Vaillant. He spent nearly 20 years treating alcoholics with Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12 Steps, and wrote up the results in his book, "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery". Vaillant found that A.A. was no better than no treatment at all and raised the death rate. A.A. had the highest death rate of any treatment that Vaillant studied. After 8 years of A.A., 29% of Vaillant's patients were dead. Vallant wrote: "After initial discharge, only five patients in the Clinic sample never relapsed to alcoholic drinking, and there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease. ... Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling." (Pages 283-286.)

And yet, Vaillant still wants all alcoholics shoved into A.A. anyway, because he thinks that it is a wonderful cult, one where alcoholics will get an "attitude change ... by ... confession of sins to a high-status healer." (Pages 286-288.)

In his sequel to the first book, Vaillant also wrote: "...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." ("The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited", page 266.)

What the President of the Betty Ford Center did not tell you is that they charge $15,000 for a 28-day introduction to the 12-Step cult religion. They have a vested interest in continuing business as usual.

You can get more information on all of those studies in this file: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html

Thank you.

I haven't heard anything back, and don't really expect to.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        "No damn cat, no damn cradle"
**           ==   Kurt Vonnegut

Date: Wed, June 28, 2006 16:14
From: "John M."
Subject: A.A. as a social outlet

Hi, I am writing back to tell you how much I still enjoy reading your site and letters. Like a recent writer to you, I continue to go while not believing a word they have to say because I guess that I also am a sucker for the vast PR machine and really don't want to relapse no matter what and so am hedging my bets. I wrote before about using A.A. as a social group and have been doing so, but like you predicted it becomes more and more difficult as I am constantly forced to be dishonest about how I actually feel or think; in reality this is not an especially good basis for lasting friendships.

I figured out the other day that in the past twenty-four years (when I first got sober after a very bad case of alcoholism that included years of daily, constant blackout drinking and ending in delirium tremors strapped to a bed in Seattle: just added that so no one could say that I wasn't an alcoholic and so discount my experience.) I have actually only been a practicing alcoholic for nine months (four short relapses), this may be why I am so unable to buy into this, I never used A.A. before and no matter what people say I was not a "dry drunk", I got in and stayed in a relationship for over twenty years now, have traveled around the world, had a career, bought homes, etc... you know "normal life"

I do not honestly believe that my mind is inherently different from people who are not addicts, when I am not drinking I am no different from others. A.A. insists that I am different and need treatment for my insanity. How they want to treat me is the 12 step program; my question is "what program?"... This is no more a program than basing your life on the New York Times horoscope.

As you have so rightly pointed out most steps are inherently inconsistent alone, and completely incomprehensible as a system.

I think you do some disservice to some of the other cults which have a spiritual program since though I would never subscribe to them at least the theory behind them makes some sense; example; the Hari Krishna program is at least loosely based on bhakti yoga and has a definite outcome; you become one with God, while I would never shave my head and wear saffron robes, this at least is spiritual (sort of).

A.A. talks about spirituality without ever defining it, allowing every member to come up with their own ideas about what it is and then saying they have had a spiritual awakening. Without belaboring the point I will just address this 12th step "having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics"

Why would God only want alcoholics to share in a spiritual awakening? Why not everyone? Surely neither Buddha nor Jesus ended his sermons with "By the way don't tell my message to non-indians (or non-jews)".

well I guess it's time I expanded my horizons; if I am only going for social reasons I should probably just join the Sierra Club and other organizations that do things I actually like.

Thanks for all the letters, I mention your site to anyone I meet that seems unconvinced; I just tell them that they should hear all sides. I do not believe that God gave me a brain in order for me not to use it.

Thanks again,
John M

Date: Wed, June 28, 2006 17:07
From: "John M."
Subject: P.S.

Just want to clarify that I am in no way advocating the Hari Krishnas or any other cult, it just happens that there is a Krishna temple down the street from my house and I was thinking how similar their approach to deviation is to that of alcoholics anonymous; if you have a thought that disagrees with their basic principles you just chant mindlessly the hari krishna mantra until the thought goes away, in A.A. their mantra for deviant thinking is "get a sponser, work the steps, keep coming back". Just wanted to point out that at least some of the other religious cults at least have some basis in a spiritual tradition.


Hi John,

Thanks for a great letter. And thanks for all of the compliments.

As you can imagine, I agree with everything that you have said.

And I get your point about the Hari Krishnas. I also studied them for the Cult Test, and they are a fascinating subject. You are right about them having a root or basis in real spiritual traditions. The Hindu religion is for real, and is much more genuine and sophisticated than Buchmanism, on which A.A. is based.

Unfortunately, the religion in the Hari Krishnas got twisted and perverted. The same thing happened with yoga in the 3HO — Yogi Bhajan's — organization, and in Swami Muktananda's group too — SYDA — "Siddha Yoga". And the Christianity got twisted in Jim Jones's People's Temple. That just seems to be a hallmark of cults — the religion always gets twisted and perverted.

I have been especially interested in following the career of Nori Muster, who wrote a fascinating book about her ten years of subservience in the Hari Krishnas — Betrayal of the Spirit. (That bibliographic entry gives links to several quotes.)

Alas, she is falling for the old cult religion come-on yet again. Now she is declaring that the 12 Steps help in recovery from cults. No joke. She is actually pushing that viewpoint. We discussed that here and here, a little while ago.

She escaped from one cult, and now she is getting drawn into yet another one.

It is painful to see — it is like watching a disastrous train wreck in slow motion and there is nothing that you can do to stop it.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Once membership is established, the messages are switched to
**  ever-increasing demands for obedience, submission and dependence.
**  The actual value system of a cult is often the antithesis of the
**  system it advertises."
**    == Daniel Shaw, ex-member of SYDA —
**         "Siddha Yoga", the cult of Swami Muktananda
**     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

Date: Fri, June 30, 2006 11:18
From: laura c.
Subject: Comments about Orange Papers and AA

Hello there!

I was just perusing your Orange Papers and thought I'd drop you a line and let you know what newly developed "problem drinkers" (I don't like referring to the "disease of alcoholism" because I feel that considering it a disease is just an excuse) feel about the entire AA phenomena. It's a disappointment, a horror really, for those who are desperate for REAL advice and help.

I developed a drinking problem over a rather short period of time. I had gastric bypass surgery and about a year later, started using alcohol as a substitute where I'd used food before. Purely self-abuse, lack of control, self-destructive behavior. I was shocked at how quickly it got out of control and how difficult it was to stop. So I sought help. As you know, the most widely available help is AA. I knew nothing about it and everyone I knew... mostly people who had never been to a meeting, had no clue what the twelve steps were, and never had more than two glasses of wine a year... insisted that it was the ONLY way for anyone to ever get and stay sober.

I found that AA was very accessible at almost any hour of the day. Since I was in "crisis mode" I ran off to meetings desperately looking for help. I didn't get any real help, of course.

Firstly, I'm stricken by how firmly AA has held on to it's lecherous, predatory roots of older men attempting to take advantage of vulnerable women seeking help. After attending only a handful of meetings it became clear to me that I could only possibly attend women-only meetings. I found it hilarious to read your comments on Bill W. taking advantage of young women. Since people seek AA meetings in the worst possible state... vulnerable, miserable, wanting something to cling to... I find this behavior intolerable and cruel and predatory (my favorite word to describe trying to pick up women you KNOW are psychologically damaged and down).

Second, I understand the concept that all addictions can have some of the same roots and symptoms. But because the local (or perhaps this is more than a local phenomena) NA chapters are so fraught with problems, such as people attending NA to buy drugs, local AA meetings are more than 75% filled with drug addicts.

At first, I gave myself a firm talking to, explaining to myself that I'm no better than a heroin addict, we're both doing self-destructive things, "there but for the grace of a god I don't really believe in go I" and so forth. However, it quickly became clear that I do NOT have much in common with a heroin/cocaine/oxycontin addict and their treatment generally does not pertain to me.

These drugs are not a normal part of society that educated people generally agree are socially acceptable. There is a big difference between seeking a crack house and entering to make an illegal purchase and accepting the glass of wine you're offered with your lunch. There are no billboards for cocaine, no signs in bar windows advertising heroin. Unlike Cocaine, there IS a safe amount of alcohol. These things are neither here nor there... I'm not suggesting either drugs or alcohol are harder or easier to quit. I'm just mentioning that sitting in meetings or "therapy" geared toward Oxycontin addicts has little or no value to me and only serves to give drug dealers the opportunity to ask me out for "coffee."

Another issue I have that I don't believe you've touched on much (if at all) in the Orange Papers is this: If it took you 30 years to figure out how to quit drinking, I have nothing to learn from you. I don't plan to waste 30 years of my life finding a solution and you are an idiot for doing so." Forgive me for being so harsh... the long-time drinker who finally finds a way to quit has my empathy and kudos for finally finding a way out. But I want to learn from someone who figured it out afer 6 months. I don't WANT to listen to horror stories about someone who was stupid enough to lose four houses, three wives, eight children and 14 cars before he finally decided to stop. This has nothing to do with me... I don't believe ANYONE can really learn anything from someone so thick.

AA meetings generally lean entirely in the opposite direction... they actually REVERE extremely long-term drinkers. It seems the more of your life you've wasted, the more you've destroyed, the higher you're held in regard. "Oh, Johnny was SO down-and-out, lost his law practice, was living under a bridge, and after 26 years he managed to quit his habit and start to regain a normal life." Good for Johnny... but once I've determined that I don't want to end up living under a bridge, there is no more this story can do for me. Now, if I could just talk to someone who quit drinking BEFORE it destroyed their lives... that would really help me out!

My problem, I've been told, is that I suffer from "terminal uniqueness." Yes! Yes I do! I firmly believe that listening to drunkalogs (the longer and more horrible and more gory the better) may help some people. Maybe it reminds them why they don't want to drink, maybe it keeps them away from alcohol or drugs in some other manner. But it does not work for me and is not relevant for me.

All the AA members I've met believe I'm lying about my drinking history. When I tell someone that I developed a problem over the last year or so... got cut lose socially after a huge weight loss, substitued one bad habit for another... they look at me like I'm crazy. They quickly admonish me that they are CERTAIN family members or others noticed that I had a problem prior to the time I identified it. "No," I tell them, "I did NOT have a problem prior to this." They just shake their heads and repeat some over-used cliché or mantra, accusing me of that terminal uniqueness I mentioned and telling me that I just "don't get it."

That's right. I don't get it. I don't believe that if I DO have a disease that it can be called "alcoholism." Self-destructiveness? Maybe. Addictive tendencies? Sure. Depression? Anti-depressants got rid of my desire to self-destruct, so maybe that IS it. Impulsive behavior? Is that a disease? I might have that. But I don't understand how anyone can lump all problem drinkers into ONE disease category and demand that they can all be cured in the same flawed manner with no professionals involved. And I'm finding that most people even want to lump ALL addictions into this category, not just drinking.

People want to escape for different reasons. People become addicted for different reasons... sometimes they're physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes related to mental illness. As you mention, everyone has a different history, so what's the deal with demanding that we all give up our uniqueness when it comes to being treated for any problems we have? If the AA member wants to call it a disease like cancer, don't they realize how many different types of cancer there ARE? Surely people who sit in those AA meetings realize that not every diabetic requires the same dose of insulin or even requires insulin in the same form.

I've determined that my "treatment" for whatever "disease" I might have does not require a life sentence of sitting around with drunks and drug users. It requires that I find NORMAL friends and have a NORMAL life. It demands that I replace bad behavior with good behavior and that good behavior doesn't involve listening to someone else's drunken nightmares.

I've gone on much longer than I intended. I guess I'm very angry with the entire AA organization for holding itself out as a great HOPE for people who need help an then not really offering any help. The problem drinker who is desperately looking for a way out feels horrified when they find out what AA is really offering is a way IN... and in to a way of life that requires that life sentence of defining yourself as an addict and living out your days in and around your addiction.

No thanks. I'm going to spend my life doing healthy things instead.

Thank you for the outlet for my frustrations!

Professional and Former Problem Drinker

Hi Laura,

And thank you for the input. You make a lot of good points, too many to list. I couldn't agree more.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.
**    ==  Voltaire (1694—1778), Essay on Tolerance

Date: Fri, June 30, 2006 14:52
From: "K."
Subject: Thanks Tons

I just want to say thank you again and again. I am de-programming from AA and doing fairly well. But it's not been easy. I'm writing my own essays about my experience which have proved quite cathartic. Hopefully, I'll be able to fine-tune them some and share them with others.

I've also found some personal essays online from people who have tried AA and have moved on. They seem to be doing pretty well. In case you haven't caught these, here they are:



http://www.peele.net/faq/grew.htm (Dead Link. Still, this works:) http://www.peele.net/faq/


Hi K.,

Thanks for the letter and the links, and congratulations on your new-found freedom.

And I recognize the essay by Paul Roasberry, "The Cult Called A.A." — I have it on my site too. (Great minds think alike... :-) I love his line about, "Try the 'one-step' program, instead: just stop drinking." Heck, it works for me.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are guilty
** of practicing medicine without a license. They are treating
** a life-threatening illness without having any medical education.

Date: Sun, July 2, 2006 07:59
From: "noel b."
Subject: How it works

Dear Orange,

Hope you are enjoying a fantastic day.

The line in "How it Works", "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constutionally incapable of being honest with themselves", is a brutal line for at least two reasons. As you say in your documents many a newcomer (and even more established members) can get put on a dangerous guilt trip. Since Wednesday (28 June), I've noticed three members talking about feeling like taking their own lives, while the Big Bookers prescribe them the "spiritual" opium of the programme.

The second reason is perhaps even more insidious. It is a confidence trick that works like this. If you have been dishonest during your drinking, and the Big Book has pointed this out, then what the Big Book says is true. Sadly, this is one giant illusion with many members following this illusion through the gates of insanity or death.

Orange, I'm detoxing from the 12 steps and I hope to be free on 13 October 2006.

It is nearly 16:00 GMT and my siesta is about to end and I'll get out and enjoy the evening.

God bless you.

~ Noel.

Hello Noel,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are successfully detoxing. Congratulations on your new freedom.

And have a good day. And a good evening.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Despite the high cost of living, it beats the alternative.

Date : Tue, 04 Jul 2006 12:47:56
From : "anthony"
Subject : Item for sale

Hello again

I was having a seance the other day, when suddenly I got talking to Bill Wilson. He said it was very hot where he was and the conversation turned to half measures, where he showed he had lost none of his coherence and good sense:

Me: "Bill, what do half measures avail us?"
Bill: "Nothing." (Big Book, Chapter Five, P.58)
Me: "When will we be amazed?"
Bill: "Before we are halfway through." (Big Book, Chapter Six, P.83)

Does anyone want a second-hand ouija board?

Colchester, England

Hi again, Anthony,

That's good. Thank you. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Lord, what fools these mortals be!
**     ==  William Shakespeare (1564--1616)

Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 07:13
From: Dennis E.
Subject: prior sobriety movements

Good morning Agent Orange,

I Think your site is wonderful. It is one of the most comprehensive and best documented histories of AA and the Oxford group on the web. Keep up the good work.

While still involved in AA, I was amazed after hearing a Seneca Indian giving a lead. He mentioned that he was a member of the Longhouse religion which contains the Code of Handsome Lake. He gave credit to Bill W's program for the first program for sobriety. When I searched Handsome Lake later that night, I discovered his code was derived from a vision he had when ill. Part of it was that he should stop drinking alcohol and reform his life to serving his community.

I know Bill W. in his grandiose style has claimed to find a solution "to the age old problem of alcoholism." I have seen a number of letters criticizing your site mentioning he was the first/only to do so. Besides Handsome Lake I am also aware of the Washingtonians. Do you have any info on other movements/programs through out history?


Hello Dennis,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And yes, I also investigated Bill Wilson's grandiose claims of being the first to find a solution. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, everything about Alcoholics Anonymous was copied from some earlier cult religion or temperance movement, starting with the Oxford Group and continuing with a long list of previous societies. See this short history of previous temperance unions, movements, and treatment programs:

Have a good day.

*          [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.

On the morning of the 4th of July, I was listening to the Al Franken show on Air America, and was distressed to hear Al Franken bringing on the author of the screenplay of the made-for-TV movie "My Name Is Bill W.", which is a shameless piece of lying A.A. propaganda. Both Al Franken and the author parrotted a lot of the usual A.A. misinformation, like that A.A. was the best way to treat alcoholism, and the only thing that really works. I expect better than that from Al Franken. He is supposed to be checking the facts and telling the truth. I immediately posted this letter to his web site:

Posted to the Al Franken Show "Open Thread", July 4:

Dear Al,

I was saddened to hear your unquestioning praise of Alcoholics Anonymous on your July 4th show. You are smart enough to figure out when Bush is lying to you, so why can't you figure out that Alcoholics Anonymous is a lying cult religion that isn't all that much different from Scientology or the Moonies?

The made-for-TV movie "My Name is Bill W." was a gross fabrication, and largely untrue. Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith didn't start A.A. in 1935; they started recruiting for the Oxford Group cult religion in 1935. Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith were enthusiastic members of the Oxford Group cult, and they believed that the Oxford Group had the only cure for alcoholism, which was "become a religious fanatic" — "The only radical remedy for dipsomania is religiomania."

Bill W. and Dr. Bob went to Akron hospitals and forced Oxford-Group-style religious conversions on sick alcoholics, no matter whether the patients wanted conversion or not. See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters54.html#AA_movie for much more on that.

They didn't have any great success rate with alcoholics by using their so-called "spiritual" method. Bill and Dr. Bob calculated that they only had a 5% success rate. But that is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics. That's how many alcoholics will successfully quit drinking all on their own, without any "help". See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Bob_memorial

The Oxford Group was notoriously pro-Nazi. The leader of the cult, Dr. Frank Buchman, came back from the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and declared to a New York newspaper, "I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism." Frank Buchman never criticized Adolf Hitler, not even for the holocaust. See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-rroot240.html for much more on that.

Neither Bill Wilson nor Dr. Bob quit the Oxford Group in protest when Frank Buchman praised Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler as wonderful fellows.

Unfortunately, the theology of the Oxford Groups is still the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous today: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-religiousroots.html

Alcoholics Anonymous is not the best treatment for alcoholism. It is the absolute worst. Even no treatment or help is better than Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. does not even have a success rate; it has a death rate. One of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is now a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., proved that when he tried to show that A.A. works. After 8 years of A.A. treatment, 29% of Dr. Vaillant's patients were dead. See this: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant

Other doctors have found that A.A. increases the rate of binge drinking, increases the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness, and even messes up alcoholics so that they require more expensive hospitalization later. See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Brandsma

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

by agent_orange at July 4, 2006 — 1:35pm

18 February 2007: I am still waiting for any kind of response or answer.

Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 19:44
From: "Gene L."
Subject: Tunks

Before you start saying Rev Tunks was in th O.G., better check with his draughter that lives here in Tampa and is a very good frined of mine. Know your facts or don't tell nothing.

Hello Gene,

Perhaps you should follow your own advice. This is what the official council-approved history of Alcoholics Anonymous says. The setting is the famous scene where Bill Wilson was in the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, in the spring of 1935, telephoning to find some alcoholic to talk to. Bill looked at a plaque on the wall, and:

Bill looked over the names and, quite at random, singled out that of a Reverend Walter F. Tunks.   ...   Whatever Bill's reason, he unwittingly picked the strongest Oxford Grouper among all of Akron's clergymen.
'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Authorship credited to 'anonymous'; actually written by A.A.W.S. staff
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984, page 136.

Rev. Walter Tunks gave Bill Wilson the name of another O.G. member who gave Bill ten numbers to call. Number ten was Henrietta Seiberling, another Oxford Group member.

Henrietta's response?

Her silent reaction, she said, was: "This is really manna from heaven." Aloud, she said, "You come right out here."
      It may seem remarkable that a woman alone with three teenage children would be so quick to invite a strange man into her home. But there was a strong bond of trust among Oxford Group members.   ...
She was certain that the telephone call was the help she and other Oxford Group members had been seeking for one of their members.
'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Authorship credited to 'anonymous'; actually written by A.A.W.S. staff
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984, page 137.

Henrietta Seiberling in turn introduced Bill Wilson to Dr. Robert Smith, who was also another Oxford Group member. Heck, they were all members. Bill Wilson was connected up with Dr. Bob Smith by Tunks because they were all Oxford Group members.

Likewise, the biography of Bill Wilson by Lois Wilson's private secretary, Francis Hartigan, says about that same scene in the Mayflower Hotel:

After trying to decide which minister was the most likely to know about the Oxford Group, he [Bill] settled on the Reverend Walter Tunks. Like Sam Shoemaker, Tunks was the rector of an Episcopalian church.
      When he called, he learned that the Reverend Walter Tunks was himself an Oxford Group member.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, page 76.

Walter Tunks was one of the founding members of the Akron Oxford Group. As such, he was someone of whom Sam Shoemaker and other New York Oxford Group members were certainly aware. As for Henrietta Seiberling, given the Oxford Group's penchant for celebrity and Tunks's position in the Akron Oxford Group chapter, that Tunks himself did not know Henrietta Seiberling and her efforts to help Robert Smith seems hardly credible.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, page 77.

Remember that the Oxford Group got established in Akron because some Groupers succeeded in temporarily sobering up Russell Firestone, the prodigal son of the tire millionaire Harvey Firestone. The senior Firestone was so grateful that he bankrolled a big O.G. campaign in Akron that established an enduring chapter. The Akron Oxford Group had an established history and practice of working with alcoholics, so Rev. Tunks wasn't overly surprised by Bill Wilson asking to speak with another alcoholic.

So, another of Bill Wilson's biographers wrote:

Because of Tunks's Oxford Group affiliation, he was familiar with reformed drunkards, and he was unreservedly receptive to Wilson's seemingly bizarre request that he needed help making contact with another alcoholic.
Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder, Matthew J. Raphael, page 100.

Now Gene, you have used the propaganda trick of innuendo: You never actually said that the woman whom you claim is Tunks's daughter has declared that her father was not a member of the Oxford Group. You merely implied it.

You have also not bothered to supply her name and address or phone number or email address so that I can contact her and ask her about this. Besides, how are we to know whether this is all a hoax, and you will just supply the number of a friend of yours who is not Tunks's daughter?

So, are you going to supply some solid information?

Alternatively, have you considered the possibility that the woman with whom you are speaking is in denial and just doesn't want to admit that her father was part of a pro-Nazi cult?

UPDATE: 2008.10.27:
There is a video on YouTube that contains a historic tape recording where Bill Wilson himself declares that Rev. Tunks was a member of the Oxford Group:

[2nd letter from Gene L.:]

Date: Tue, July 4, 2006 4:54 pm
From: "Gene L."
Subject: better Ideal

Do you have a better solution then AA? Whatever, it has helped many men and women return from the gates of hell to be out back with their families and jobs. I'm so glad you have such a great memory. I have been sober for 28 years, Please don't ask me what I was doing at 5 months sober or the first 4 years, so unless you have lived it, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Does me good to see people like you, help me to vent some of my angery out...that you ah.

Hello again, Gene,

We have been over all of this before. Please read before criticizing.

  • A.A. has not "helped" or "saved" millions. A.A. does not work. It is a failure with a zero-percent success rate over normal spontaneous remission.
  • A.A. has the highest death rate of any kind of treatment program. Nothing is worse. That information comes straight from one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc.
  • A.A. also causes a higher rate of binge drinking,
  • a higher rate of re-arrests, and
  • higher costs of hospitalization.
  • A.A. is merely a cult religion that steals the credit from people who quit drinking by their own perseverence, hard work, and determination.

There are many good alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, anything is better, and produces a lower death rate and a lower rate of binge drinking. Here is a list of alternatives.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   The Sagan rule: "Extraordinary claims require
**   extraordinary evidence." The far-fetched claims
**   of Bill Wilson that Frank Buchman's cult religion
**   could cure alcoholism have not been backed up
**   by even a little ordinary evidence, never mind
**   some extraordinary evidence.

Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2006 21:11
From: "James W."
Subject: your whole book

where can i order it


Hello James,

You can't order it. It isn't for sale. It's for free.

What I recommend is that people download the archive files and burn a CD copy for themselves. Or, if you don't have a CD burner, have a friend do it for you.

The archive files are available from the main page, here: https://www.orange-papers.info/menu1.html#archives

Have a good day.

== 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: Tue, 4 Jul 2006 22:18
From: "Arlene"
Subject: From Canada

Greetings Agent Orange:

I have been following your site for over a year now and must say it provides a lot of answers for me. On July 13, I will be marking my second year of sobriety.

This is my second attempt to stop drinking. The first time was with the use of a treatment centre and AA; but I wasn't ready to admit I was an alcoholic and went back drinking. This second phase was the result of two spiritual events, about a week apart; the events of which are too lengthy to go into here. I was three days sober when I started to re-attend AA. As my health improved and I regained my old self, I began to have problems with the Big Book and the messages I heard in the rooms.

After discovering your site and attempting to find members to discuss my issues with AA, I gave up. I have relocated recently, and have yet to attend a meeting in my new community. Surprise, Surprise; I have not drank, nor have a desire to do so.

I have discovered something that I have not seen discussed on your site yet. I believe that the Fellowship of AA has in fact superceeded the Big Book, much to the chargrin of the oldtimers who like to preach the 12 Steps. I found that a number of the groups I attended were quite happy to talk about living in sobriety and coping with day to day living without using booze. The Big Book was sort of on the edge of the picture. AA could work if the organization was willing to bring itself into the 21 century, and that would mean "Coming of Age" for a second time and putting the Godliness of Bill W behind itself. However I cannot see this happening and I have not yet decided if I will resume attending meetings.

Note those important words, "I have not yet decided." In sobriety, I make the decisions that affect my life, that freedom of choice comes from Sobriety and not from the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.

I have observed that there is not a lot of discussion at AA meetings about sobriety, and the Big Book only dwells on the practicing alcoholic; with nothing about the person in sobriety. Interested in your comments

I also have not seen any comments from Canadians, have you received some???

Hello Arlene,

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

About the Big Book becoming irrelevant: A.A. seems to be going both ways on that issue. I have had some people write to me and declare that the Big Book is unimportant, and that they have been members for years and never read the thing.

And then of course others tell me that everything that you need to know about life is contained in the first 164 pages.

Who knows which way A.A. will go... Perhaps both ways, with some groups going one way, and others going the other way. A.A. may splinter into sub-cults with new leaders. There are already signs of that happening.

Comments from Canadians? Oh yes. That makes me laugh. I immediately recognized your ISP in your email header: telusplanet.net and telus.net. You are in Edmunton, Alberta, Canada, and someone else who shares your ISP is a crazy chiropractor who puts on airs of being a real doctor and dispenses quack medical advice on the Internet. We have had an ongoing debate and a running battle for years. A few months ago he swore that he was going to kill me — openly threatened me in the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps. Fortunately, he's just a harmless nutcase.

And I've actually had many other comments from Canadians, but none of the rest were quite so crazy or so spectacular. Try using the search engine at the bottoms of the pages, and search for "Canada" or "Canadian" and you should get a dozen or so hits, especially in the letters pages. Then you can type a slash ("/") and a search word like "Canada" or "Canadian" in your browser, and it will search within the page so that you can zero right in on what you are seeking.

Oh, by the way, did you know that I am half Canadian? Or maybe 3/4, depending on how you look at it. My mother was Canadian all the way; my father was born in the USA but raised in Canada because he was half Canadian himself. Both are from London, Ontario. So my friends still insist that I speak with a slight Canadian accent. It's words like "out", "about", and "egg" that are the give-away.

Have a good day.

== 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)

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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-letters57.html