Letters, We Get Mail, LXVI

Date: Sun, August 20, 2006 3:44 pm
From: "David P."
Subject: Why All The Anger?

Mr. or Ms. A. Orange (whoever you are),

As someone who has been sober for almost ten years and sobered up with the help of AA, I think the AA program works for some people but that there are many ways to the mountaintop, so to speak, whether they be "harm reduction" or any other method, including just plain stopping drinking which a few of my friends have successfully done for many continuous years. I am no "AA is the only way" kind of guy by any means and in fact, refer to those who are as "AA Nazis." I also agree that boozing is but a symptom of underlying issues/mental disorders (depression comes to mind) and that most anybody, and perhaps especially alcoholics and addicts, can benefit from and need the help of health care professionals (such as therapists); I know that once I stopped drinking I was then able to (and still do — life is a continuing process) address the underlying issues and feelings which I drank to avoid dealing with through the much more healthy method of therapy.

You make some valid points. Unfortunately, they are completely lost in the completely over the top hyperbole, anger and rage with which you express them. You also make some completely erroneous statements/conclusions which are also dripping with anger and rage.

Hopefully, the only way you vent all this anger and rage is through cyberspace, and not with a baseball bat or more lethal weaponry. Perhaps AA didn't work for you. If so, something else will (or did). As I say, I believe that there are many roads which lead to Rome. Or perhaps you are not an alcoholic but have been close to one for whom AA did not "work." Or perhaps whatever. I do not presume to know anything about you. All I know is that a lot of time and effort was expended in writing this piece, and that it drips with anger, rage and venom. Wherever you find it, I hope you find some peace.


P.S. If for some reason you choose to respond, please try to do so without the anger, rage and venom. Thanks.

Hello David,

Well, I'll try to keep the rage down. I'll start with your question in the subject line: "Why All The Anger?"

The answer is simple. Because A.A. deliberately foists a completely ineffective quack cure on sick people, and even kills some of them. And then A.A. lies about its success rate.

It is a really low vile crime to lie to sick people about what medicine might cure them, and how well it works, in order to get them to use one particular treatment or cure (that doesn't work).

When you say that "the AA program works for some people", all that you are really saying is that a few people quit drinking at the same time as they go to some A.A. meetings. A.A. does not deserve any credit for a few people quitting drinking. That is called normal spontaneous remission. Those are the people who were going to quit drinking anyway.

The actual A.A. success rate is merely equal to success rate of people who go it alone.

It does not even matter if those who got sober near A.A. meetings swear that A.A. saved their lives. It's easy to fool a few people into believing that quack medicine cured them. A.A. still does not improve on the sobriety rate of alcoholics.

In fact, the A.A. program actually increases the death rate in alcoholics. A member of the AAWS Board of Trustees — Dr. Vaillant — proved that.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**  give, not out of demanding that I receive." Serving humanity
**  is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly, lovingly,
**  spiritually giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**  No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**  while you hand it out, it's still cyanide koolaid.

Date: Sun, August 20, 2006 10:02 pm
From: Cindy C
Subject: Who are you to judge?

I some how stumbled upon your lengthy article about Bill Wilson. I've probably read the equivalent of about two pages and all I see you are doing is character assassinating a human being who in my opinion has been to hell and back. Have you ever been to hell? Are you an alcoholic? Do you personally know any? What makes you such an authority on spirituality? Are you not aware that Christ accomplished His greatest works in sinners. Why not focus on the good that has come about as the result of Bill Wilson. Why not take your eyes off the messenger and look at the message. In my opinion if Bill Wilson's imperfect spiritual life helped spare even one human being the tragedy and gut wrenching pain that a soul ravaged by alcohol is brought to, than he accomplished exactly what God inspired him to do. Like Jesus said let he who be without sin cast the first stone!

Hi Cindy,

Who am I to judge? I'm the guy who has to watch his friends get fed a load of 12-Step bullshit and quackery that does not help them.

Yes, I am an alcoholic, and yes, I've also been to hell and back. And guess what? That does not entitle anyone to lie to sick people about what medicine or treatment might cure them, like Bill Wilson did.

There isn't any "good" that came from Bill Wilson's fraud. It's all a big hoax. A.A. does not sober up alcoholics. A.A. does not improve on the sobriety rate or survival rate of alcoholics. A.A. just steals the credit from a few people who quit drinking by their own efforts and will power and intelligence.

Yes, Jesus Christ accomplished great works with sinners. Bill Wilson, on the other hand, took their money and fed them an old fascist cult religion and screwed them. And then exiled them to an alcoholic death if they dared to argue with him.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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: Mon, August 21, 2006 11:50 am
From: "Jerry O."
Subject: The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable.

Dear A. O.,

How are you doing today? It's been about a month since I wrote and I've been reading more of your website. I use to hold Bill Wilson in high regard, but now after learning all he did, I've thrown him off the pedestal. I always heard about his affairs before, even though he denies it in his story in the big book.

I also related to his depressions. I have gone thru severe depressions before and after sobriety. I've been on medication for many years now and they have helped. Ironically it was a fellow AA members that suggested that meds may help me. He too went thru depression and panic attacks.

The final straw was the story of how Bill Wilson cheated all the writers of the big book out of their shares of royalties. I almost couldn't believe it. I also read that he would complain that he wasn't getting enough credit after all he had done for alcoholics. Some humility, huh?

I have the movie "My Name is Bill W." on VHS. I was watching it the other day and I found the end to be totally wrong. When he visits a meeting in the 1950s, no one recognizes him. Supposedly because of the tradition of anonymity. But that's not what happened. Bill would be recognized at meetings and would be asked to speak, not as a member, but as a founder of AA. Amazing. How the mighty have fallen.

On the subject of being "powerless over alcohol" I think we both believe the same thing. I too believe the powerlessness is once you start drinking, you can't stop until you either pass out or run out of money. I also believe that our thoughts and feelings such as aggravation (oh, to Hell with everything. I'm gonna do what I want to do.) can effect our mental state, but we are responsible for lifting the glass to our lips. This is what I learned from AA. I never believed that we were powerless over my own thoughts and actions regarding alcohol. I just couldn't stop once I started. I don't know, maybe I was hearing something different at meetings.

While I'm still not sure about the disease/illness concept, I don't believe it excuses me for my behavior.

My mother was in Al-Anon for nearly 25 years before she passed away. She believed because I have a disease, I was innocent of any wrong doing no matter what. I tried to tell her that if I killed any one by drunk driving I would still be responsible for their deaths. She would say "No, you have a disease. People don't go to jail for diseases." As if I could just walk away scot-free. We had different beliefs about alcoholism, but I still love her. One of the funny things my mother believed was because she heard that alcoholism is a family disease, she believed that everyone in the family is an alcoholic. All her nine kids were destined to be alcoholics. She even thought she was alcoholic, even though she didn't drink for the last thirty-years of her life. Strange.

One more thing. Could you tell me where I can find the success rates of other recovery programs like Smart Recovery, etc. I am curious as to how well they do in comparison to AA.

Well, thanks for all the information and hard work. I hope things are well with you. Take Care.


Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks, and I am well. Slow at answering email, but well.

I think we agree about everything you mentioned.

On the issue of "powerlessness", I understand that I have no control over my drinking once I get started. After I have 8 or 10 beers in me, forget it. But I certainly can refuse to take that first drink.

But what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book was that you can't even control that — that your mind will just go blank now and then, and you will occasionally be lost to a drunken binge before you even know what is happening. That's why you have to join his cult religion and surrender to God and hope that God will save you. Because you can't possibly save yourself.

We've discussed that a few times before, like here.

Yes, that movie "My Name Is Bill W." was certainly a hack job on history. The author of the screenplay, William G. Borchert, wrote quite a fairy tale. Nowhere did he mention the fact that Bill and Dr. Bob got a mere 5% success rate in recruiting, or that most of the original A.A. members relapsed and returned to a life of drinking, or that the first woman in A.A. relapsed and became a drunken suicide.

I also liked the part about how the Wall Street hustler and stock market swindler Bill Wilson got transformed into a respectable stock broker.

Oh and Borchert forgot all about Dr. Frank Buchman and his fascist cult religion "the Oxford Group".

Oh well....

About the SMART success rate: There are also very very few statistics for the alternative programs. The only really valid randomized longitudinal controlled study that tested both A.A. and Rational Behavior Therapy (like SMART) that I know of was the test by Dr. Brandsma. There, A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and RBT lowered it.

Project MATCH allegedly tested both A.A. and SMART, but it did such a bad job of testing that the results are pretty worthless. Project MATCH found that all treatments yielded the same success rate, but with no control group, it couldn't say what the success rate was. Plus they did very non-realistic things like paying the subjects to come to meetings. That was not a real test of A.A. or SMART. It was a test of a strange highly-funded program that paid people to come to meetings.

In general, I can tell you that SMART gets maybe a one or two percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission — no more than that — while A.A. scores zero percent above normal spontaneous remission. The simple truth is that those who chose to quit drinking or doping will do so, and the other people won't. Programs or support groups don't really have much to do with it.

But still, I'll take even just that 1 or 2 percent improvement that SMART gives. It's better than nothing.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, August 22, 2006 8:20 am
From: "Ben B."

Why the anonymity?

Hi Ben,

Because I feel like it. And it saves me from a few hassles that I don't need. Someday I'll dispense with the anonymity, also when I feel like it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, August 22, 2006 11:15 am
From: "Mike P."

Dear Mr. Live In Fear,

Never have I seen or heard of one person who has wasted so much time on any subject. Especially when the subject has helped so many people. A program that has helped and saved the lives of at least many thousands. However your time is yours to waste.

I have to feel quite sorry for you. Your thoughts and writings are to say the least delusional. Unfortunately many people laugh at you and your writings. I will pray for you because you are truly a sick person and need mental help very badly.

What you display on your site certainly and without question has helped no one. I must say that probably, and unfortunately, the ones it has harmed are others who are mentally ill. This is a very sad, sad thing. No one with a healthy and/or happy mental disposition will take anything you have written seriously.

So as that you will not misunderstand my intentions it is important that you know that I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion and I respect that right with all my heart. But sir what you have written indicates you are mentally ill. Being obsessed is not a crime. However your mental obsession with a very positive and life saving organization is deranged.

Life can be very good. There are so many good things to focus on and it seems you don't have a clue to this fact. Instead you attack an organization that has saved more lives then any non- medical organization in the history of this earth.

As a good person I am sorry that your mind will be upset by what I write. That is not my intention. But just maybe, and with the grace of God, my message will be the one that inspires you to seek help. Unless you are a true masochist, you are a very unhappy person.

I have a idea that deep in your very paranoid mind you know this but deny your negative obsession. May God help you. Just like we alcoholics man-kind probably cannot help you. You must earnestly seed your own God. He can and will if he is sought.

Best of luck!

Mike P.

PS Please do not hesitate to call me. I would like to try to help you. Unlike you I do not have to live in fear and hide my identity to those who read what I author. It is a great feeling!

Hello Mike,

Well, you have had your say, and I have not censored your letter. Even though it has no connection to actual true facts or much of anything else on the Planet Earth.

I will pick out just one paragraph to respond to:

Life can be very good. There are so many good things to focus on and it seems you don't have a clue to this fact. Instead you attack an organization that has saved more lives then any non- medical organization in the history of this earth.

Actually, I am having so much fun feeding the ducks and geese and working on my suntan down at the beach that it is hard to tear myself away and get caught up on answering my hate mail.

Alcoholics Anonymous has not saved a lot of lives. That is just the standard A.A. Big Lie. A.A. is a complete fraud and a hoax — just another cult religion that claims to have a magical cure for something, not much different from Scientology, really.

A.A. has a zero percent success rate over normal spontaneous remission. A.A. just steals the credit from a few people who were going to quit drinking anyway. One member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., Dr. George E. Vaillant, accidentally showed that A.A. actually increased the death rate in alcoholics — way increased it.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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, August 22, 2006 1:01 pm
From: chris
Subject: AA


I've been checking out your site and I must say that I agree with quite alot of what is on there. I once had thought there was something wrong with me when I was first trying to get clean and AA/NA not only didn't help, but appeared to make matters worse. There were many times when I was feeling just fine and wanted to just go home and call it a day with no urges or anything when my guilt kicked in and I decided that I had to go to a meeting for the day to make a 90 in 90 or whatever, and I left with uncontrollable urges that led to relapses.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your new clean and sober lifestyle.

I've heard from a bunch of people that A.A. meetings made them want to drink. I've experienced it myself, too. I would come out of A.A. meetings wanting to drink, and N.A. meetings wanting to get high on something.

I don't know how to explain it, other than just the power of suggestion — spend an hour talking about getting drunk or high, and thinking about it, and you start to remember that it might be fun. But sometimes it seemed more like that you were soaking up the desire, the cravings, out of the air, absorbing it from the other people around you.

I also find it much easier to stay clean and sober by not going to those meetings.

Now, I stay away from meeting and have over 2 years clean. They also would tell me that I was relapsing because I was on Effexxor XR and Doxepin for depression. Fortunately, I had enough sense not to take medical advice from a roofer. I found that NA was MUCH MUCH better with not telling people to stop their prescribed meds.

However, I disagee with one thing (so far) on your site, which may just be a mistake in my interpretation. You seem to be sarcastic about the genetic nature of addiction on the very first page when discussing alanon. From what I understand, there have been many many studies to back up that addiction tends to run in families and that children of addicts have a higher rate of addiction than people born to non addicted parents, even when the child is adopted at birth into a non drinking familly. This would be simular to Diabettes, Heart Disease, High blood pressure, depression ... I believe it is called a pre-hereditary disposition, which places you at a higher risk for some disease/disorder than the population at large, but does not mean you will definately develop the disorder/disease.

Please, there is a big misunderstanding there, about the genetic factor. I am a firm believer in the genetics of alcoholism, and probably addiction too. I'm an alcoholic; my father drank himself to death; his mother was an alcoholic before him, and I don't know where it came from before that, but it came from somewhere.

There are some people who are debunking the genetic theory of alcoholism or drug addiction, claiming that the gene hasn't been discovered, but I'm not one of those people.

I inherited the gene for middle-age alcoholism. That kind of alcoholic often does not drink in his teen years. I didn't, not more than one beer or glass of wine now and then. I didn't really even like the stuff at that age. But around 30 years of age, the gene activates. I have personally been able to watch and see how the gene kicked in and changed how alcohol hit me, and how I felt about it, and suddenly I really liked it, and getting drunk a lot had its attractions.

Check out these links for more on the genetics: Dr. Kenneth Blum, Reward Deficiency Syndrome, and Dr. Kenneth Blum, footnote.

In the file that criticizes Al-Anon, I was criticizing the idea of codependency, which is a mythical "spiritual disease" that someone supposedly catches just from having a relationship with an alcoholic, or being a family member. That's a whole different thing. That really is a superstition.



You're welcome.

And 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.

[2nd letter from Chris:]

Date: Sun, October 1, 2006 8:25 am
From: Chris
Subject: Re: AA

Thanks for getting back to me. I since have read alot of material on your webpage and I must say I really like what is there. You seem to sum it up nicely on a page where you say something like:

Everything AA says almost makes sense, until you realize that they are taking some concept and twisting it into something that's insane.

(That's not exactly what you said word for word and I forget what page it was on.)

Like the 5th step, to catholics makes sense until you realize that your "confession" is being made to a lay person, who may very well start drinking again, and need to borrow money! You may be giving someone alot to hold over your head.

But the problem for me is, what to do about it? AA is a cult and most people who study cults seem to agree, AA is an ineffective quit drinking program (AA's own study's show that). They are a drain on society, especially since most rehabs and programs force AA on the person trying to get better and bill insurance companies for it.

I go to a outpatient program where I know alot of addicts, most of which are still using (There are over 1000 patients at this program). I tried to introduce some of the concepts of smart recovery to some of them and I was met with alot of resistance from them. It seems they are so brainwashed, that they just can't accept that they are not powerless, not insane, not incapable of running their own lives (when sober). I want to start a SR meeting there, but it's a MAJOR uphill battle to convince them that AA doesn't work and that they can get better. It's heartbreaking, with so many hard core addicts in one place, I see plenty of deaths and destruction of peoples lives and the hopelessness of them. They think AA is the only way, they have failed miserably in AA, so they give up on themselves and resign themselves to being bottom case dropouts until they die, go to prison or just go through crisis after crisis...

Perhaps you can lend me some advice? I know I can't save the world, but I would like to help.


Hello again, Chris,

Thanks for the letter, and a tough question.

Overcoming the intertia of institutionalized 12-Step "treatment" is really difficult. Institutions generally do not want to change; they want to remain just the same, and live forever. They often have a mind-set like, "This is what got us here; why should we risk change?" Self-protection and self-preservation are often the primary motives of institutions.

I expect that it will take some high-level wrongful death lawsuits to force change. Or Congress passing a law demanding testing of treatments, and requiring that treatment be proven to work before the government programs (Federal, state, or municipal) or health insurance companies pay for it.

Definitely read the file on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment. There, I have collected all of the information that I could find about the real success rate of 12-Step treatment. It is all documented, and includes all of the valid tests of A.A. that have ever been done. That is, randomized longitudinal controlled studies. NONE of them showed A.A. to work. Just the opposite. A.A. did things like raise the rates of binge drinking, re-arrests, and deaths. You can print out some of that stuff and use it in your arguments.

In the mean time, about starting your own group, that sounds like an excellent idea. I don't have any specific instructions on how to do that, other than to contact the parent organization and get instructions from them. Actually starting a group can be as simple as getting educated by the parent organization, and then getting a meeting place and publicizing the meeting, and starting the meetings. Here are some contacts that might help:

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Better to light one little candle
**         than to curse the darkness.

Date: Tue, August 22, 2006 5:11 pm
Subject: Thanks for your website.
From: "T. J. S."

You are welcome, and have a good day.

Date: Tue, August 22, 2006 5:58 pm
From: "Michael B."
Subject: Howdy from Texas

Hey Orange!

I just wanted to say what a tremendous job you have done in your research and presentation of information on your website. I have been an alcoholic for some 30 years with the exception of nine years sobriety at which time I never attended an AA meeting. The last 13 years of my alcoholism were spent in and out of meetings with brief periods of sobriety lasting no longer than 6 to 8 months at a time. It always seemed to me that the people and the program were about 17 french fries short of a happy meal. I "kept going back" because of fear and guilt imposed by constant nagging of medical professionals and past "friends and sponsors".

About two years ago my doctor felt that I was suffering from mixed bouts of anxiety and depression (and self medicating with alcohol) so she started me on Lexapro. I had tried similar drugs in the past to no avail, but there was something different about this one. I finally had that "spiritual awakening" that I had so desperately been seeking and the promises (Alcoholics Anonymous, pp 83-84) began to come true. I did know a new freedom and happiness and my whole attitude and outlook on life did change for the better. It was at that time that I realized the whole AA mess was nothing more than a tub of turtle turds. I had been living proof that AA's borrowed definition of insanity (from Albert Einstein) was true. I had been doing the same thing over and over (going to AA, getting a sponsor, getting drunk) and expecting different results. What a joke!

I started researching information on the internet just to see if there were any people out there like me and that is where I ran across your site. I am in awe of the amount of work that you have put into this site and the professionalism and acuity of which the information is presented. I plan to start a website soon just to get my experience and (increasing daily) knowledge out there and would like permission to include some links to various pages as well as your whole site. I am still in the stages of sifting through the millions of web hosts out there that offers easy to build pages as I am not a computer genius, but can pretty well hold my own.

In closing, I congratulate you for bringing forth a truth that is long overdue in coming to the limelight. I have made it through about 75% of your pages, have agreed 100% with your views, and look forward to the other 25% plus any new information that becomes available in the future.

Michael B. in the heart of Texas

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better.

One of the really encouraging things that is happening in medicine now is that they are getting some really good psychiatric medications that can fix some of the problems that have plagued people for eons, problems that some people tried to fix with alcohol, unsuccessfully.

There are a lot of people who got labeled as "alcoholic" who really were not. They were simply suffering from untreated mood or mental disorders, and trying vainly to fix themselves.

I would love to see the day when we have medicines to fix all of those misunderstood disorders.

Your web site idea sounds good. I'd love to see it. And feel free to include all of the links you wish.

Have a good day now.

== 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."

Date: Wed, August 23, 2006 8:35 am
From: "Eric R."
Subject: Unimpressed.

What a waste of time. More yours than mine. E.

Date: Wed, August 23, 2006 7:04 pm
From: "Madhav Das"
Subject: Principles not personalities

Hey Orange,


I have been checking out your site for quite a while. I love it.

I find some of the letters you get from AA wacko's painful to read. The "dry drunk" "resentment" "you have not done the 12 step work" lines turn my stomach."Principles not personalities" is another one, the hypocritical personalities spouting what they think are spiritual principles as they hit on some young chic fresh out of detox. Give me a break.

I did the "work" and was totally devoted to it while I was doing it. I ended up 4 years sober and debating with myself hourly whether to blow my head off or not. I had the gun under the front seat of my truck. My sponsor Steve tried to help but all he knew was "go to more meetings". I did and I was getting sicker the more I went. Don't get me wrong, Steve is a great guy and has helped a lot of people, and he knows when something is not working you need to try something else. Then he suggested I stop going to meetings, he said I needed something more or different. Until that "something" was found his main goal was to talk me through the darkest period of my life.

For me the answer WAS spiritual (I hate that word!) but not the AA Christian Get On Your Knees Cult stuff. I discovered Hinduism and chanting (kirtan). I am not Hindu but I use the practices they developed. Hey, it works for me and it is fun! Steve thinks I'm nuts, but is really happy that what I needed FOUND ME.

I have been off the drink and dope 9 years now, I never use the word "sober" because it rings of AA foolishness to me. I have been AA free for five years and my life just keeps moving forward and getting better.

"Alcoholics hate change" is another slogan that keeps them in bondage to AA, and I totally rejected from the start.

I was totally devoted to getting well and living a good life, not to AA. Which made it easier for me to make the transition out of AA. Some people are not so lucky. I now have new friends and a girlfriend and none of them drink. They are not drunks, they just do not drink for one reason or another.

Drink and drugs are in the past and I do not live there anymore.

It is so good to know other people feel the same way about AA as me. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Madhav Das

Hello, Madhav Das,


Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to hear that you are happier now. It sounds good.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can
**   erase our good deeds." — Siddhartha Buddha

Date: Thu, August 24, 2006 2:53 pm
From: H.
Subject: obsession

Dear Orange:

One of the things that I find interesting is the obsession with alcohol.

"old timers" do not seem to put a bad habit to bed. It is almost as if one does not attend meetings, God will strike them drunk. Very odd.

As for "carrying the message" to "suffering alcoholics": it seems very self serving. They know nothing of effective alternatives; informed consent does not exist for them. Very odd.

many "old timers" have no real interest in "newcomers"; it is almost as if "newcomers" were an impediment to their agenda [whatever that may be]. That, for, newcomers may be a blessing well disguised. But, there are those who prey upon newcomers. very odd.

"old timers" very often tell truths about AA — but, they don't realize it. Very odd.

The medical profession does not appear to understand that 12 step gives them a black eye. I guess that "denial ain't just a river". Very odd.

"denial" is a species of very primitive emotional blackmail. It seems very obvious to me. Very odd.


Call me "H"

Hello again, H.,

Thanks for the observations.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Fri, August 25, 2006 6:21 am
From: B.H.
Subject: possible addition

A corollary to the "No Exit" rule is the demonization of those who leave:

You give a list here. There is another one used in the old Worldwide COG.

"They were never a part of us to begin with"

This is a great resource.

As Arnold Swartzneger said, "I'll be back."

Bill H.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the input and the compliment. Yes, that's an addition. I assume that old Worldwide COG means the foreign branches of the Children Of God cult. What a bunch of nuts they were. ("Happy Hookers for Jesus.")

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  China: Eliminating Falun Gong one organ donor at a time.

Date: Fri, August 25, 2006 7:45 am
From: "Nip"
Subject: Power of the Cult

Dear Orange,

I was re-reading your information and I read that you still occasionally attend meetings specifically in regards to picking up anniversary chips for a feeling of accomplishment and I believe for the social aspect. I am still attending a meeting everyday but have come to the point where I can not sit in the meeting for an hour. The more that deprogramming occurs, the more the repulsiveness of the dogma is evident. You also stated that to go to meetings and tell the truth about AA and alcoholism would start a civil war. I have also found out that there is not much use either! It is odd though that the "newcomers" come up to me after the meetings and comment that they like what I had to say!

Hi again, Nip,

That line about attending meetings is really old. I haven't picked up any A.A. coins or N.A. keytags in 3 years. In fact, I have almost 6 years sober now, and the biggest A.A. coin that I have is 1 year. I decided that there was no point in letting people think that my sobriety was due to any 12-Step program, or was even vaguely associated with any 12-Step organization.

Like with N.A., I would have a problem with the question at the start of the meeting, "Can we have a show of hands of people who have more than a year of clean time to show that this program works?"

Should I put my hand up because I have multiple years clean and sober, or keep my hand down because my success had nothing to do with their program, and I don't want to show that it does?

They never asked, "Now can we have a show of hands of people who have more than a year of clean time without ever bothering with 12-Step cult nonsense, to show that the program is bullshit and completely unnecessary?"

I also experienced those feelings of finding the meeting routine repulsive. Like they just had to start every single meeting by reciting a list of lies:
"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."...

I'd be feeling like, "Geez Louise. Can't they ever tell the truth, just for once?"

Then I discovered SMART, and they didn't start their meetings by incanting lies and delusions, and that was that. I went to only a few more A.A. and N.A. meetings to pick up coins and keytags, and then I stopped doing even that.

In previous letters I told you a little of my situation, 14 years sober and a true believer followed by 5 years of narcotic use followed now by 1 1/2 years of sobriety. A thought came to me this morning on how powerful the dogma is and how engrossed I used to be. When I went in to "treatment" in Jan 2005 I felt a lot of guilt and shame, and rightfully so, but the biggest shame I felt was not to my wife of 32 years and the upset and grief I caused to her, specifically in financial matters, but the feeling of guilt I had that I had let the program and the members down. It is a powerful and dangerous dogma that would instill these feelings in a person.

In conclusion I am still freeing myself from this crap but it apparently had such a hold that it will take some time after 14 years of believing and spouting crap that in fact does not keep people sober and what is worse just religious dogma from an insane person.

Thanks again for the truth.


Thanks for the thanks. It takes time to deprogram and get all of that stuff out of your system. 14 years is a long time. It'll take a while to undo it. But you are doing it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
**  try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
**  enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
**  (The Big Book, page 96.)

Date: Fri, August 25, 2006 4:39 pm
From: "Paul H.R."
Subject: Hi

Just wondering what credibility you have to make up an opinion on Alcoholics Anonymous? It's cool that you've got your views on it, but I'm a member and I can tell you that alot of your views are just as rubbish as are your views on AA. It saved my life and has never hurt me in any way, shape or form.

Good Luck,

Hello Paul,

Thanks for the letter, and good luck to you too.

Alcoholics Anonymous did not save your life. You did.
You saved your life by quitting drinking. A.A. did not quit drinking for you, and neither did God.

So you had to do all of the hard work yourself. A.A. did not save your life for you.

How much would you have benefitted from A.A. if you had not quit drinking?
How would the program have saved your life then?

Now why did you quit drinking? Because you went to some A.A. meetings?

No way. It was because you were sick and tired and going to die, and you decided that you didn't want to die that way. It's the same reason as why you went to the A.A. meetings.

So you decided to quit drinking and go to some A.A. meetings, and somebody there fooled you into thinking that A.A. was helpful, and even necessary, for quitting drinking.

I also decided to quit drinking and go to some A.A. meetings, but I didn't get fooled by the cult religion routine or the other nonsense that I found there.

And that's the big difference between us. And that's a big part of my "credibility". Smart enough and experienced enough and old enough to not get fooled again.

Alcoholics who go to A.A. meetings do not quit drinking in any greater numbers than other alcoholics who don't go to A.A. meetings. A.A. does not improve on the situation at all.

In fact, A.A. has some very nasty side effects, like raising the rate of binge drinking and raising the death rate of alcoholics.

For further information on my experiences with A.A. — my "credibility" that qualify me to have an opinion of A.A. — see these pages:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A., and also
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick, and
  3. another friend goes missing.

You could also read the bibliography, here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Common sense is not so common.
**          ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

Date: Fri, August 25, 2006 7:33 pm
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Perennially Relevant

Hi Again, Orange!

I don't know if you've looked at my webpages yet. Some who've looked at my webpages on victim correction as a panacea, the sort of victim-bashing that AA seems to have pioneered, have wondered why I have so much to say about something that's such a normalized part of our culture that most people don't even notice it. Yet for years, I've always been running across more and more that would be extremely apropos for me to add to my webpages. In fact, today I ran into something that's a typical example of this, about the advantages of basing psychological diagnoses on actuarial reasoning, just a few pages away from an article telling of an approach that borrowed from Twelve-Step spirituality, a goal of "The Power to Forgive the Unforgivable." I saw immediately what webpage of mine these should be added to.

I don't know whether you originally intended your website to be the "book" that you now call it, but my webpages on victim correction as a panacea started out as one webpage, Victim Correction as a Panacea. As this grew I divided it up into 7 different webpages. I then came up with a Victim Correction as a Panacea the Summary webpage, then a page 2 of the summary, then a page 3, which grew and grew until I divided it up into 36 short webpages. Then I divided the 7 original Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages up into 29 fairly long webpages, taking some of the text on the summary webpages and putting it onto the main Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages. Now you could get links to all my Summary, Page 3 webpages on http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/VictCorrSummary3.htm, and links to all my Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages on http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/Victim_Correction.html.

Hi again Sharen,

Yes, that growth problem is something else. The Orange Papers was originally supposed to be just one 30- or 40-page paper (typed double-spaced yet).

Now I also have some gigantic pages that I have to split up, and that will produce hundreds of broken links to fix...

On one of my main Victim Correction as a Panacea webpages, on http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/Victim_Correction11.html, I got into my first experience with victim correction as a panacea. This involved all those theories about codependency, and, as Susan Faludi wrote in Backlash, "Norwood's self-help plan, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous's twelve-step program, advises women seeking the source of their pain to refrain from looking beyond themselves, a habit she calls 'blaming.'" This is why, when I read in a magazine for addiction professionals, an article about how psychologists using hunches rather than actuarial reasoning to diagnose clients could be irresponsibly unscientific, I figured that this certainly belonged on that webpage of mine. Actuarial reasoning would be the ideal antidote to victim-blaming, since actuarial reasoning would require that researchers establish beforehand that people couldn't have a certain weakness of character unless he really did show tendencies in that direction. If actuarial reasoning were used, Ala-Teen couldn't tell its members to stop blaming others and look at themselves, unless each member has shown self-defeating tendencies. Women couldn't be treated as codependent unless they'd shown tendencies toward martyrdom, caretaking, living a melodrama, playing the victim role, etc.

Yes. Sounds good.

Since that same magazine also includes that quote aspiring to "The Power to Forgive the Unforgivable," putting these two together could show how such extremist laissez faire psychology is pretty incompatible with actuarial reasoning. If people are expected to deal with whatever realities they must deal with, then it would be pretty hard for their counselors to limit themselves to correcting them only if they have diagnosable and provable quirks.

Therefore, I added that quote about the actuarial reasoning, to that webpage. (Of course, this is one of the webpages to which I had already added that Ala-Teen comic you e-mailed me.) Once I added that quote, it was amazing how much I could refer to that, in reference to different things that I'd already put into that webpage. So many of the other paragraphs about that same sort of pragmatic victim-blaming, could also mention the fact that actuarial reasoning that would determine what someone's personality attributes really are, would be a great antidote to the habit of attributing to her the personal weaknesses that her desperate situation could make it seem that she has. And, of course, plenty of this could also refer to the habit of striving for "The Power to Forgive the Unforgivable," and how no actuarial tests for personal quirks, could penalize people for not doing that.

Speaking of that Ala-Teen comic, did you know that you can get the whole collection here:
He also has old anti-drug cartoons from way back:

As I said, I run into something like this, which could fit right into what I already have in my webpages, every few days!!! I'd suggest that you look at my webpage at http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/Victim_Correction11.html, and you could see how much this whole conception of "personal responsibility," shapes our entire culture.


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

Yes, that all sounds fascinating. I like it when I find one of those key things that opens so many avenues of understanding.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Someday, maybe there will exist a well-informed,
**  well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction
**  that the most deadly of all possible sins is the
**  mutilation of a child's spirit.  ==  Erik Erikson

Date: Fri, August 25, 2006 7:34 pm
From: "Heather M."
Subject: Your twelve step website

have you actually EVER attended more than 5 meetings or tried working a program to see of any of th eABSURD shit you wrote is valid?

i have never read such an ignorant take on 12-step programs!

i am not an addict, but it dies actually require thought and reason and to work a program.

so what addiction are you trying to justify by this absurd website?
there is no magic bullet in anything in life.

12 step progrmas are not a be-all and end-all-but..it works if you work it.

I am so sorry that you are so confused and angry that you feel it neccessary to criticize what you obviously have no concept of....

tsk tsk tsk

Call me Ed....Special Ed.

Hello Ed,

Apparently, you haven't bothered to read even the introduction to my web site. If you had, you would know that I've attended a lot more than 5 A.A. meetings. And a lot of N.A. meetings too.

I am not confused. I clearly understand the facts and A.A.'s terrible failure rate and its hocus-pocus cult religion cure for alcoholism and its bad habit of lying about its failure rate.

What if your mother was suffering from cancer, and you discovered that she was being treated by a quack doctor who pushed completely ineffective fake medicines?
Would you thank the quack doctor for being a great humanitarian?
Or would you condemn him as a criminal?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [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: Sat, August 26, 2006 12:08 am
From: "karen w."

do you think god enjoys your hatred and intolerance?

Hi Karen,

And there you have demonstrated the propaganda techniques of Assume The Major Premise, and Ad Hominem, attack the messenger.

If somebody says something that you don't like, just try to pass off the assumption that he is full of hatred and intolerance.

QUESTION: Do you think God approves of foisting fake cures, quack medicine, and cult religion on sick people and lying to them about how well it actually works?

  1. "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
  2. "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses..."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Telling lies about recovery isn't funny, and
**  it isn't spiritual, and it isn't okay.

Date: Sat, August 26, 2006 1:38 am
From: "Claire"


I have been reading your website and find it very informative! I joined AA when I was only sixteen. I found G-d, although I am not a Christian. I was born jewish but I am atheist now (more about that later). I started reading the Christian bible and going to church so I could identify with AA. I started taking heavy anti-depressants and I think that contributed to my lack of judgement. I ended up having sex with seven different men in the program within a few months. This is my fault, too. I suppose I figured that if a person was in AA they were good people...

I met somebody who I had a relationship with for almost two years. We were both in AA, and he had pretty negative feelings towards the program. He feels he had been wronged by members when he came into recovery. Like me, he was much too trusting. When him and I got together, a woman who had a crush on him started spreading rumours about us. It was so malicious that soon, we couldn't go to meetings in fear she would be drunk (yes, she came to meetings high and drunk) and cause a real disturbance. The rumours spread like wild fire because at that particular meeting, people loved to gossip about their 'fellow members'. I remember at one meeting she actually went off about how disguisting we were; the chair person didn't stop her. It was almost as if they enjoyed seeing us be put down like that. That is when I began to despise AA and develop deep resentments.

After relapsing, I went back into AA. I had been on a hiatus for a couple of months. It has been the same thing... I have tried to share the fact that an Atheist should have a place in the program. Whenever I bring that up, people start to talk about all that Higher Power crap to me. They say the same old stuff... Anything can be your higher power, they need a higher power to work the program, blah blah blah. I really don't know if I can deal with it. I just do not believe in any religion right now and identify with Atheist beliefs. I feel like I am wrong and I should just give in and believe in G-d...I've done it before.

Another thing, I broke up with my boyfriend and have liked somebody in the program for a few months. I can not even get to know this person because AA has the unspoken rule; DO NOT DATE ANYBODY IN THE PROGRAM. They call it thirteen stepping. The groups are full of old gossipers who would no doubt start giving me dirty looks if they even saw me leave for a cup of coffee with somebody. Even though I am an attractive young woman, I just know they would dissaprove since I have more recovery time. What a bunch of jealous idiots! So, now I am forced to date men who are drinkers because sober men in the meetings are not allowed to date me. I do not want to go to bars or anything else. In fact, I really only have eyes for this one particular man; but he is in the meetings so I have no choice but to give up. It's ridiculous, I think they are jealous so that they don't want people dating eachother. Why is that? You talk about predators but what about two consenting adults who are attracted to one another? Is it still 'wrong' for them to start a relationship if they are in AA together? And is that one year of sobriety before a relationship shit true? I could never abide by that... I am not one for celibacy. I am confused, I really respect your opinion so please give me your thoughts. Be nice!


Hello Claire,

Thanks for the letter and the story.

You want advice? Well, I don't really feel like either a wise old guru or Dear Abby, but I'll give you my take on it.

Somebody, perhaps Jack Trimpey, or the author of another book about recovery, made a very perceptive statement about relationships in recovery. He spoke about the dangers of pacts — "I'll quit if you do." You can get into such pacts over anything: quitting drinking, quitting smoking, losing weight, etc..

Such pacts have a fatal flaw: "If my partner backslides, then that makes it okay for me to do it too. No blame, no shame, ha ha." So partners can pull each other down.

Obviously, avoid such pacts like the plague — both spoken and unspoken, assumed, pacts.

Remember that you are quitting and staying quit for your own sake, because you want to, and it doesn't have anything to do with what somebody else does or fails to do.

But you seem to be in a better situation than that, because you have some sober time of your own — some sober time that doesn't depend on what anybody else does.

And that term 13th-Stepping is getting misused. It used to refer to an oldtimer exploiting a newcomer sponsee, particularly an old guy adopting an attractive, naive, freshly-detoxed, cloudy-headed and confused young woman, and first teaching her the 12 Steps, and then taking her to the bedroom and teaching her the 13th Step.

Not all relationships between 2 recovering people are 13th Stepping.

Personally, I am pretty neutral on the issue of relationships. I don't think that it is necessarily wrong.

The greatest danger I see is that when it doesn't work out, and the relationship ends (which almost all of them do, right? — all but the last one in your life), some people get so emotionally upset and depressed that they drink to kill the pain. And that is a disaster.

I wonder why you can't find any other non-drinking guys besides A.A. members. There must be a lot of places to find them. Try a SMART meeting, just for starters. (See this list of alternative groups.) Then check out maybe a yoga class or rock climbing or Outward Bound, or anything that promotes physical health and values it more than getting drunk. There must be lots of guys who are into athletic physical things who wouldn't dream of damaging their bodies with alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

Well, good luck and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  People whose own lives are not worth living desire
**  the power to control other people's lives.

Date: Thu, September 14, 2006 6:40 am
From: "Claire"


sorry you haven't responded to my last e-mail. I enjoy your website it is very well researched and you are obviously very intelligent. It seems as though everybody is entitled to their opinion and I am sure you could go on and on about why AA is a cult. It is a good debate. I am not saying I disagree with your theory, all I am saying is I could debate you right back as to why it isn't. What a funny game. :)

I agree it is a cult but I am pretty fucked without it. Maybe I could stop drinking without AA, I don't know. It makes me feel good, is that such a crime? I leave with a pretty good feeling. Why is that? Maybe it is the mind control bullshit but it feels good. And it beats the church, fuck, you need to make a website about that cult bullshit.

AA is a social thing for me. Without it I would be pretty lonely or I would hang out with a bunch of drunks. Or normal drinkers, and I don't get along with them because they make me feel like I can drink normal too. Than I am a complete ass.

You never answered me...do you think it is wrong for people who meet in AA to date?
I don't.

Hello again Claire,

I'm not blowing you off; just slow to answer all of my email.
I trust that you have gotten my previous letter now.

Watch out for that attitude that A.A. is okay because the meetings make you feel good.
So do the meetings at the local dope dealer's house.
That can open the door to a whole host of problems and bad things.

Take care, and have a good day.

== 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).

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