Letters, We Get Mail, LXVIII

Date: Mon, August 28, 2006 11:34 pm
From: "Kelly S."
Subject: great site

wow I think you just saved my butt.......... been in AA for a year and two months........ I am blown away at the extensive research you have done............. I will be back reading often .............. awesome!!!!! yes you have truley saved my buns.............. thank you

Hello Kelly,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. But in all honesty, I did not save your butt. You did. You are the one who got a grip and stopped drinking and saved your life. Congratulations, and have a wonderful life.

And have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**  build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          Adelle Davis

Date: Mon, August 28, 2006 11:46 pm
From: "Nick I."
Subject: Thanks

Hi Orange

Thank you for the immense amount of research that you have put into this project. Your seemingly tireless efforts have probably expedited my escape from AA by a matter of years.

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the letter. Now that is good news.

I am an alcoholic, undeniably. Suffering from extreme anxiety problems and the consequental health problems (I have a terrible case of irritable bowel syndrome, which has been proven to be tightly connected with anxiety), I turned to alcohol. When I was drinking, I was able to temporarily disregard the pain. As a result, I adopted a terrible habit, one which has only seemed to escape me in the past few months.

Before I was able to cure myself, however, I found myself forced (by my wife, family, and psychologist) to enter AA. My first experience in AA was a pleasant one; I found a large number of people who seemed to care a great deal about me. Several individuals actually spent a number of hours after the meeting indoctrinating me into their cult. The manner in which they spoke to me in fact relaxed me greatly, and soon thereafter, I found myself citing AA slogans and perpetually referencing a God that I had never before believed in.

My optimistic attitude towards the program changed drastically, however, when I actually got my hands on a copy of the "Big Book." Being a professional student, I immediately read the whole manuscript from start to finish. Very quickly, I began to realize that AA wasn't a program to help one stop drinking; it was a program designed to indoctrinate one into a cult. The chapters "To Agnostics," "For Wives," and "Working With Others" disturbed me significantly, and, at the AA meeting the next day, I expressed my newfound concerns immediately. I was greeted with a variety of responses, ranging from "You should only read a couple pages of the Big Book at a time," to "the book is very old, and you shouldn't take everything seriously."

These responses did not convince me, and, after a conversation with my sponsor, I decided to switch into the Narcotics Anonymous program, which, in their literature, deal with addictions in a softer, less antagonizing approach. Ultimately, however, I decided that the two programs were essentially identical, despite the differences in wording. I should add as a footnote to this that my AA/NA sponsor is a wonderful woman, and her interests in my recovery were 100% genuine. She remains a trusted friend of mine to this day (more on this in a bit).

Because of my inherent distrust of the literature, I began searching the Internet for answers. Thankfully, I quickly stumbled upon your website. As an academic, my confidence in your work was greatly increased by the fact that you cite everything that you write down. Following the links, and reading your citations, I realized that what I had always suspected to be the truth was, in fact, true. For that, I am eternally greatful to you, Orange, because, without the discovery of your research, I might have toiled for many more years in the AA/NA cult. I was actually getting to the point where I was actively recruiting new members, and, on one occasion, almost "13th stepped" a new member. This girl remains in AA, while still keeping in contact with me, but I am afraid to criticize her program, as this may confuse her; she seems to believe the AA dogma and has improved her life greatly. She has a wonderful child, and I do not want to interfere in her progress in any way.

Nonetheless, I myself have completely escaped from the AA/NA cult. After carefully reading through your website and the associated references, I IMMEDIATELY extricated myself from all 12-step activities. Subesquently, I began participating in both SMART and Rational Recovery, and these two programs have done wonders for my alcoholism. I am currently 6 months sober (interestingly enough, I would go weeks at a time sober in AA followed by intense binging periods — afterall, it is a disease I am powerless over). Once I realized that I was ABSOLUTELY NOT powerless over my addictions, a new world opened up for me. Now I had no excuse; I had to recognize that my addictions were mere figments of my impotent regions of my brain.

Far out. Right on. Exactly.

I was on the brink of becoming a full-fledged AA cult member; but thanks largely to you, Orange, I escaped with as little damage as possible. Nowadays, it absolutely shocks me how much AA dogma has become almost a priori in today's society. Even my parents use words like "relapse" and "alcoholism" EXACTLY how AA defines them, despite the fact that neither of them have EVER had any experience with the AA program.

Yes, it is amazing how many people parrot the A.A. tenets without even questioning them or realizing where they came from. A.A. has arrogated to itself both the privilege of defining the "disease" of alcoholism, and its (cult religion) treatment.

I should note that I am from Canada, where it seems that the AA propoganda machine is not as influential as you describe it as being in the US. The alcoholism counsellors that I have spoken with have frequently described AA in a negative light (although I may just be a lucky exception); however, they DID send me to an addiction specialist who was a proud member of AA. Nonetheless, the forcible indoctrination of many individuals into the AA program is a potentially disastrous policy that could, in fact, drive more people to lethal alcoholism than if they were simply left alone.

Yes, really.

As a final comment, I would like to thank you personally with regards to the abolishment of my nicotine addiction. Many of the websites that you reference on your own site deal with addiction, although the majority of them do not deal with nicotine specifically. It is because of your own PERSONAL explanations of nicotine abuse that I finally decided to quit the habit (going on almost 6 months now!); coincidentally, I picked up the smoking bug while attending AA meetings — thankfully I never picked up the coffee bug, which I find equally deplorable.

Alas, I still have that one bad. I'm sitting here with a good strong Latté right now. And I must confess to being an enthusiastic coffee addict.
"There is no reality before the morning cup of coffee."

Thank you so much for the time and effort, Orange. I will channel your efforts whenever dealing with an individual plagued with addiction.

Cheers! And have a great day!


(P.S. — don't include my email address; I don't think I can deal with all those AA nutjobs who could fill up my inbox)

Thanks for the story and all of the compliments, Nick, and you have a good day too.

And congratulations on your escape from the madhouse.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, August 29, 2006 1:38 am
From: "Stephen R."

[Horses used to help drug addicts]

Thought this might give you a good laugh — I guess they'll all be "hay-on-life" (awful pun, but the best I could come up....)


ps, where you been? noticed no recent updates to the site....

Hi again, Stephen,

Thanks for the tip. I've been doing all kinds of things ranging from playing in the sunshine to rebuilding my computer (and fighting with things that ought to work but don't) to volunteering at a community event.

And now I'm back to laboring in the salt mines, getting caught up on email.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, August 29, 2006 3:43 am
From: "Carol"
Subject: interesting similarities...

I just finished a book describing the birth of the SIDS movement in the 70s and how one doctor was so convinced by his sleep apnea theory of crib death (later proven false), he obtained millions of dollars for his research primarily with his skillful orations. His 'research' was so influential people believed SIDS ran in families when in fact the common link was, sadly, infanticide.

But people wanted so badly to believe he had the answers they ignored the obvious flaws. His work spawned an entire industry of baby monitors and used the 'fact' that the majority of the monitored babies lived as proof they worked. Of course they would have survived anyway and probably been much happier without them.

And those babies that died, well, they didn't have SIDS-apnea. (see the similarities?) Years of research and millions of dollars wasted that could have been spent on real research, all because of one passionate but very wrong man. Since this emperor was shown to have no clothes, perhaps the 12-step cure will be debunked as myth in the future. While it might be easier for people to rail against mistreatment of infants as opposed to addicts, I still have hope that the truth will prevail. Eventually, common sense rules.

Perhaps this is why I was told to stop reading books in rehab. Yup, "reading is bad, it's like drinking (say what?!!) you do it alone and get all into yourself" (whatever!) The only book you should be reading, I was told, is the big book.....talk about indoctrination!


Hi Carol,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, you understand. It is simply amazing and appalling how easy it is to foist quack medicine on people. (Check out Dr. David Duncan's story about a quack kidney treatment center.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, August 29, 2006 12:14 pm
From: "Michael M."
Subject: Wikipedia


I don't think that you can clarify your cult-bashing message any more clearly on your website, any further perhaps, without mucking up the waters. Originally, I found your website through Wikipedia. I was surfing through the AA page and I saw the Orange Papers at the bottom and your page looked rather benign. Little did I know.

Anyway, Wikipedia has grown tremendously popular and I have been trying to edit several nefarious pages, regarding Wilson and Buchman. Particularly I was slammed on the Oxford Group page. I tend to be rather course and lack subtly.

There seems to be a rather influential "God squad" commandeering the input on those pages. They want to illustrate Buchman and Wilson as palatable saint like figures, rather than the degenerate squanderers they really were. My input lacks coherency and credibility and I don't have the patience to figure out how to annotate, etc...

Are you able to find a volunteer, or perhaps do it yourself? I believe more people will find out what kind of people Buchman and Wilson were through the Wikipedia venue, unfortunately, than through your Web page; at the time being. If done correctly, I believe there would be a strong case manifested vs. Cults that are pardoned and practiced throughout the US and world.

Michael T

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the letter. Ho boy would that be a project. I have been deliberately avoiding getting into the Wikipedia Wars because I knew that it would be a battle royale.

So far, I'm just struggling to get caught up on my email, and that would be a very time-consuming debate. I am hesitant about getting into it, but thinking about it.

Does anyone else want to take on the job?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The man who does not read good books has no advantage
**  over the man who cannot read them.
**   ==  Mark (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) Twain 1835-1910

Date: Tue, August 29, 2006 3:58 pm
From: "James G"
Subject: Hello — long time no hear!

RE: Blamedenial.co.uk and its closure


I hope you are well and that my last few emails have not raised the same doubt they have raised in me!!!! Just to clarify....

I wanted to write something more substantial regarding my decision to keep the site open for another year. In all honesty I never ever wanted to close the site but I felt under pressure from some people in my life, as well as by my own feelings at the time. I was under the illusion that breaking away from the dogma that is AA and all that it had instilled in me was purely a one off decision; I was mistaken.

Perhaps this is not the case for many of you, but for me it had been so deeply ingrained in me that as soon as I decided to close the site I could sense my mind was falling back into the ways of the 12 Steps. When you have believed in something for 8 years, and aspired to live up to the so-called spiritual perfection Bill Wilson makes sure we are never quite able to attain, it takes more than a mere decision to move on.

I got caught up in that whole ideology of living your life simply to better the lives of others that AA tells us is the road we must inhabit in order to be happy. I became that chameleon again, I wanted to be a creator of harmony rather than discord, to misquote Bill Wilson. It could be argued I was too hasty in my decision to set up Blamedenial and with that I was not prepared for both the reactions of the people that know me, as well as those that don't.

Most of the people in my life support what I am doing with a silent approval, and the vast majority of people that contact me through the site do so because they feel as I do.

However there has, up until recently, been a shadow of a doubt over what I am doing and the message I am sending out to people. That 'Do the Steps or Die' mentality is so very hard to shake off! Those crippling moments of self-doubt that used to spurn me to yet another meeting ate away at me begging the question, what if I am wrong about this?

During one of those bouts I set about to investigate the good things in AA, and I was met with much criticism, and understandably so. Save the fact my delivery of the questions was dire; I also felt that our cause was a hopeless one, albeit briefly. At the time I wanted to throw the towel in; to turn my back on AA and those who were in the process of retreating from it. Once I felt this, it was not hard to find reasons to justify any such action — those reasons are all documented in the letter I posted on my site on the evening I decided to close it down.

I was also increasingly becoming conscious of the fact that I could not support all I was saying with facts. Everyone wants facts about how the program does NOT work, yet they are quite happy to have none when the script is flipped and they are asked to believe in it!

In some respects I felt like that 'newcomer' in the rooms that is swiftly silenced, but this time I was silenced by myself; by all those damn messages repeating in my mind that are carefully delivered in the rooms to quash any belief we might have in ourselves, in our will. Once I realized this I was fired up with an even greater desire to expose the 12 Steps for what they are; a war on self!

Many people in my life questioned what I was doing and hinted at the fact they believed AA helps people and who the hell am I to question something that's only purpose is to better the lives of people caught in the grips of alcoholism or addiction? As I am sure you all well know, that is a hard argument to answer to. However I have since realised that is the precise purpose of this site; to break that denial born of ignorance — most of those people have never been to an AA meeting. Their opinions are based on that ever so dangerous PR machine that AA claims to nullify in its hypocritical 10th Tradition. When you start to label yourself an addict or alcoholic in today's 12th Step 'sold' society, you also appear to lose all right to an opinion on your own condition and its causes; you unwittingly hand your right to an opinion over to people who have never been where you are, and that, in my humble opinion, is both wrong and detrimental to the individual.

That is why Blamedenial remains open and is pleased to hear from all of you.

J a m e s G

Hi James,

I'm glad to hear that you are continuing with it. I like your videos.

I also wonder now and then if I am being too extreme, or if I have gone off the deep end. That is human nature, and it is also a sign of sanity. It's a raving nutcase like Bill Wilson who could never ever stop and question himself — who was convinced that he was on a Mission From God.

There is one thing you could do with your videos that would help those of us who like to collect things, you know — make them downloadable in some other form, like .AVI or .MPG. That is, I have a plug-in for Firefox that will download videos from YouTube, and save them on the hard disk in .FLV form.

But I don't have a player that will play .FLV videos.

There is some program that will convert them to more common formats, but it only runs on Windoze and I'm running Linux. Eventually, I'll find an answer, but I am simultaneously trying to solve half a dozen other more pressing problems, so that one goes to the bottom of the list...

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right
**  way, at the right time." — Arnold H. Glasgow

Date: Tue, August 29, 2006 9:55 pm
From: "Kimmarie"
Subject: Thanks for your site

Hi Orange —

I have read a great deal of your paper on-line and find it well-researched and enlightening — with just the right amount of humor to lighten up a very serious subject.

Hi Kimmarie,

(What a delightful name.) Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

I agree with many of your writings on the 12 Step Program. My personal experience? Over 10 years of being "in and out" of the Program.

During that time, the longest continuous sobriety I achieved was 8 months. Program people said that "maybe I just didn't want it enough." I'll admit that was true, especially when I first came in 10 years ago. But if I was powerless over alcohol anyway, then what difference did it make if I wanted to stay sober?

That's a great point. If you are powerless over alcohol, how can it be your fault and your responsibility to "really try" and "thoroughly follow our path"?

"There's a hole in their logic, dear Martha, dear Martha,
There's a hole in their logic, a hole."

(Sung to the tune of "There's A Hole In The Bucket".)

I loved the section in your paper that lists the characteristics of a cult. Tonight, I read and rated #1 — #10, then compared my scores to yours. My favorite cult Descriptor is #7 — "Irrationality." During my first year in AA, I thought, "don't these people realize they are using circular logic?" But, of course, that question didn't get much play because I was a newcomer and "always wrong." (Cult Descriptor #2). The irrationality of the program drove me bananas.

It is comforting to know there are like-minded people when it comes to AA — the "last house on the block."

But what about making the decision not to drink, and finding some kind of support for that decision? I know many people do it "alone" or without support groups, but I must say that the most helpful part of AA for me was the group connecting. And I think I know why. As human beings, we are social animals. People with common interests/beliefs gather to form tennis clubs, volunteer groups and church congregations. Those of us with drinking histories feel better when we relate to someone's drinking story in an AA meeting (and sometimes that reduces the desire to drink).

Exactly correct. That's why I like to refer people to any other groups that won't foist such mind-bending cult dogma on them, like SMART or WFS or whatever...

A similar factor is at work when people are drinking together in a bar — that feeling of connectedness, of not being alone.

Yep. I actually heard one enlightened Baptist minister quote a guy as saying, "Reverend, you will find more brotherly love in a bar on Saturday night than you will find in the church on Sunday morning." And then the minister said that we need to improve the church.

I have looked into SMART meetings and the face-to-face meetings are scarce. I plan to travel to the nearest one anyway to check it out, but I'm wondering if you know of any plans to expand this program. I think I may be able to benefit from SMART, as would many others. Also, is SMART led by a counselor or is it like AA, where the indoctrinated show the others the way?

First question: yes, it is expanding. Slowly, gradually, there are more meetings in more cities. And since you are a woman, also check out WFS. It is also growing, and I hear good things about it.

Second question: In SMART, laymen facilitate the meetings. I hope they are more educated than indoctrinated, but yes, they are amateurs who learned their stuff by going to meetings (and reading a book or two).

Thanks again for your fabulous paper. It is the voice of reason in a world gone wacky..

Best Regards,


Thanks again for the letter, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Every identity has its fundamentalists — the gatekeepers of what is and
**  isn't permissible for those who share that identity.  Since we all have
**  access to multiple identities — race, religion, nationality, ethnicity,
**  class — these fundamentalists usually have their work cut out trying to
**  keep everybody in line.  As the guardians of authenticity, their job is
**  to deny complexity and impose uniformity."
**   == Gary Younge, "To Fight These Reactionaries We Must Tackle the Crisis
**  That They Feed Off", in The Guardian/UK, August 21, 2006
**  http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0821-22.htm
**  http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329557728-103677,00.html

Date: Wed, August 30, 2006 12:53 am
From: "Jim"
Subject: AA


I just wanted to thank you for your page on 'Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult'. Being involved in AA for about a year and having feelings of guilt over leaving, many of the concerns I had about 'The Program' was addressed in your writings. I can't even start to tell you how relieved I was to see that I wasn't the first one to see through that BS. I have heard the same things, I could never make it on my own without 'The Program', I could never control alcohol, and in the rare event that I could, I would never be truly happy and at peace with my life unless I stayed with AA, I would just be a dry drunk. Being a person with a mind, I split from AA several months ago, since then my life has not become 'unmanageable', in fact I now hold a the best job that I've had in awhile, I show up when I'm supposed to and enjoy my free time when I'm not at work.

Thanks again, Jim

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks.

Congratulations on your escape from the lunatic asylum.

And have a good day.

== 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: Wed, August 30, 2006 12:26 pm
From: "sine nomine"
Subject: another person who recovered and owns her accomplishment

first, i like what you have to say. i do a lot of work with people who cope by hurting themselves physically (http://buslist.org/phpBB) and oftentimes people suggest using a 12-step model. i'm very against this, because to me one of the first steps in overcoming any negative coping method is to realize that every time you pick up that blade or that bottle or that drug, you are making a choice. it may be that you don't feel you have any other or any better choices, and that's okay; the process of recovering means making mistakes and bad choices and learning from them.

lapses are learning opportunities. they mean you've run into something your new ways of coping can't handle, and after the lapse you have the chance to figure out why. one tool i use frequently is a series of questions:

  • have you taken care of your physical wounds? if not, go do that now. we'll wait.

  • what had happened just before?

  • what were you thinking and feeling?

  • why did you end up hurting yourself then instead of some other time? was there an event that was the final straw? what was it?

  • how did the situation get to the final straw stage? trace it back through the events that led up to the last event. look for some point at which you could have made a different decision. what made hurting yourself the best option you had at that time?

  • were there outside factors like drugs, alcohol, being off your meds, lack of sleep, etc? can you address those in the future? how?

  • what other ways of coping did you try besides self-harm? how well did they work?

  • in retrospect, are there coping methods that you now realize might have helped? what were they?

  • name at least two things you will do to help yourself remember those coping methods if you end up in this situation again.

  • how do you feel about the situation that led to self-harm now? is it resolved? if not, what are some steps you might take toward resolution?

  • are you likely to be in that emotional place again? how will you recognize it when you're in that situation?

  • what will you try before you resort to self-harm if you're in that situation again? list three specific things you will commit to trying.

these questions actually do help.

my story:

after pretty severe abuse and neglect as a child and teen, i was at a loss when i finally left home. first i was terribly depressed. then i started going into awful rages at the slightest provocation. after that, i met some people who had parties every weekend night (and some weekdays). pretty soon i was getting blitzed every weekend. when i got drunk, i'd either get suicidal and whiny or furious — it was like being drunk gave me an excuse to get the crap out (though of course it came right back later). then i'd black out. sometimes i woke up in a puddle of my own vomit. once i blacked out, vomited in someone's backyard, then came out of the blackout and had no memory of throwing up.

i went to some aa meetings, but it wasn't helpful. eventually i partially replaced drinking with self-injury. i did some pretty hardcore cutting and burning (i've got two skin grafts from third-degree self-inflicted burns. i once cut muscle. another time i made holes in my wrist with wire cutters and put nails in the holes. i was one fucked-up person).

eventually i got into a dialectic behavioral therapy program. it gave me the skills i needed to identify my feelings, cope with them in non-destructive ways, and be more effective in dealing with other people. that program saved my life. eventually i stopped drinking. now i'm a social drinker. back in the day, if i was at a party with an open bar, i'd drink enough to get buzzed and then keep drinking because i was terrified of losing the buzz and having to face reality. now i can take it or leave it. last summer, i went to a friend's wedding where most of the guests ended up getting very drunk. i had a glass of champagne, but i didn't want anything else; i just didn't feel like drinking that day.

i consider myself to be fully recovered from self-harm and from alcohol abuse. i don't run from my feelings anymore, and i try to listen to what they're telling me. it was hard work, but i did it myself without giving up the power to make my own choices. right now i'm trying to apply these same techniques to emotional eating.

i'm glad your site exists. too many people see aa as the one true path, and it isn't. many many people recover without the program, and you never hear about them because they're not in the system. i'm an example.


Hi Deb,

Thank you for the letter and the story. I just couldn't agree more.

The 12 Steps themselves are a form of self-harm, what with all of the guilt induction and dwelling on "when you are wrong", and then telling you that you are powerless and insane and full of moral shortcomings and defects of character and wrongs....

I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better now.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Cast off the shackles of this modern oppression and
**    take back what is rightfully yours, because as William
**    Shakespeare never wrote, 'Life is but a bullring, and
**    we are but matadors trying to dodge all the horns.'"
**      —  Matthew Clayfield

Date: Wed, August 30, 2006 1:29 pm
From: JM

Dear A.O.:

Don't know why I'm writing again, just that the fact of you encourages me. I'm going to have 20 years in September, and was a "low bottom case," but in reality, I knew (in the way back when), I was a near-murder victim (four guys went to jail), and that — and the horror of the rape crisis center), just sent me to the bottle.

And for that, I've been pathologized for twenty years. I can't go back there. Went once last year. But I feel depressed. I know my mind is just unhinging. But it's true brainwashing. Like my reality — and their reality.

As I wrote before, out of terror of going back to AA (at first I went about four years), I hired a therapist later in life, when I got physically ill, and he was worse. The thing is, I'm pretty religious (I read the Bible a lot), and I just hate all of this! I mean, there is no normal reality-based perspective that acknowledges reasons people might pretty reasonably drink. I always thought that disease concept was SO HIDEOUS. I think I'm just still going through such horrifying sense of betrayal. Why take young rape victims — and tell them they're diseased?

I mean, I've lived my whole life not really believing that, but on another level, you sort of do. It's like a really horrifying life perspective that you didn't have, on a more core level, but that is so deeply ingrained from AA, and our culture (the whole country, really, believes this crap).

I just think it's a total cover-up, to cover the reality of life here, and to self-pathologize, so no one looks at larger social issues. I mean, lots of young girls — not just me — get nearly killed, treated like garbage by shrinks, and then drink.

Uh... disease?

Felt more like continuous, endless exploitation of the young to me.

I just hate that so many people feed on youth and vulnerability. So many young nights were spent for me, in those stinky, smoky rooms, often full of the very convicts of the sort who'd assaulted me. I know that sounds uncharitable, but I finally became very reactionary. I just wish I'd left so long ago. I've stayed pretty isolated, and read the Bible. It's the only thing that makes sense to me.

Anyway, for the past year, reading your site really helps me. Just that you take the time to do this. The shrink who got ahold of me when I was sick was even more bizarre than AA. I ordered many of his published papers, so I can remind myself, when I doubt he was monster. But it kills me that so much of this goes on, there's nowhere to turn for help, you're so alone.

Hopefully next week, I really will try to make the Smart meetings you recomended. I'm in NYC, which is lucky that way.

I just feel that, if it weren't for all this AA and "therapy" hate-ideology, I could have had a great life. I mean, all those therapists believe the craziest, crappiest shit about the human subject — who we are, why we're here. To be honest, it really just flays me. I cry and cry sometimes. I've been hurt, but I was never capable of the kind of hate these people dish out — calling people diseased, when there's just some obvious environmental problem, and stuff like that. It's just so sick. What the hell is wrong with people?

Well, like I said, just the fact that you do this, and that I can read letters seeing that communications between ourselves is something, is so important. I would LOVE to connect with any X-steppers in my area. I am trying to join that site, but my computer skills suck; anyway, I am figuring it out. (I have to do some weird cut/paste thing). But the thing is, I'm hanging in, and your site is part of why. I know if I just refuse to go back, and feel my feelings, and be honest about my real experiences in AA that other new friends will come.

I had one of those "dual lives." Like AA convinced me that my "nice" friends could never accept "my disease." When I got sick, (with a real disease), I lost a lot of my nice world, and only AA was left. It has been hell. Deep down, I really thought I'd escaped from AA, I think. That I'd ever use it for support again was heartbreaking. I hate it so much. I hate that they would take a young, confused girl, further endanger her, and make her sit with horrible people like I met, (who I'm supposed to be like.) One word for that shit: never.

I am grateful for a couple really cool people I met over the years there, but it was like two — young, my age, (one got "sober" at 14, I mean, what could that even mean!). Anyway, we secretly shared what we thought, and they remain very dear to my heart. I saw so many young people die through that, and also, the really bad therapies that came in tandem with the AA meetings. For many, it's a double whammy of the therapists, too. One guy thought he was Satanically Ritually abused, when he wasn't. Another I still talked to thinks she's an incest victim (but has no memory of this whatsoever; her therapist just believes it because she was raped later in life — I'm really not kidding. On the basis of this, whole families have been lost.

Maybe my family wasn't perfect and was "dysfunctional," but they were MINE. And anyway, I'm not stupid. I always figured life can be hard. I never held it against family members if they did something untoward (my dad drank some, and my parents divorced.) To hear AA and therapist talk about it, you'd think we were all serial killers.

Oh, Orange. My heart just feels a little broken today. I just started typing to you, because you get the AA thing. Like I said the first time I wrote, two of my sponsers had dead kids from suicide. You'd have thought that might stop them from "helping" so many other youngsters. And I was always nice, and try to be understanding, and saying things like that, I feel like a bitch.

But I just wish other adults had been more concerned with these issues — helping the younger ones who got stuck in all this. When I do go to meetings (very rare) I just yell about the hell I saw there. Of course, people in AA around the neighborhood — some don't even say hi to me. And after twenty years of knowing me!

Wow. If there's any evidence it's a cult, that would be it.

Again, thanks for your work and your heart — for doing it. I just feel like shit right now, and so betrayed. I know I should have taken more proactive actions in my own care, but when I first got heisted into this (and that's a real story), I was very young. My friend who was forced into sobriety at 14 has the same confused headset — like much of our minds were influenced by this, and we also think it's total sick bullshit.

Anyway — like I said — thanks again. I still read your site.

Hi again, J.M.,

It's good to hear from you again. And thanks for all of the compliments.

Foisting the 12-Step hoax on rape victims is really monumental world-class quackery. It's hard to believe that it is happening in the 21st Century, but it is.

I hope you are feeling better.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   How many diseases does modern medicine treat
**   with a "spiritual cure"?
**   If you get cancer, does the doctor tell you
**   to join the Pentecostals and speak in tongues?
**   If you get diabetes, is the fix to join the
**   Mormons and eat chocolate cakes?
**   So why, if you get "alcoholism", should you join
**   Alcoholics Anonymous and conduct seances to
**   hear the voice of God giving you work orders?

Date: Wed, August 30, 2006 7:12 pm
From: "Ted K."
Subject: The Orange papers

When I finished reading your work I looked for an altar to pray at. Nope, nothing there except the little bag for the "donations".

I would like to pose a few question to you. If you are too busy, that's cool.

I'm sure I can find someone out there to debate. Hopefully I can find someone who is willing, and not enamored with Logical Fallacies, and finally, someone that does not hate people because they might disagree.

Ted K

Hello Ted,

Well, I'm not really looking for a debate about religion, although the subject is unavoidable when you are talking about Alcoholics Anonymous.

You say that you "looked for an altar to pray at", and didn't find one. Well, I know from your many postings to newsgroups that you were looking for a fundamentalist Christian thing. I really don't have such an attitude. I just avoid fundamentalism of any kind — no matter whether it is in religion, science, philosophy, recovery, art, music, or whatever.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

[2nd letter from Ted K here.]

From: "Anna B"
Subject: Statement
Date: Thu, August 31, 2006 11:43 am


Man does your site link to a lot of internet crap.


Hi Anne,

I'm not sure what that means. Are you saying that you don't like my file of links?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Ask not what your country can do for you,
**   But what your government can do to you.

Date: Thu, August 31, 2006 1:38 pm
From: "Andrew W.S."

Links to this article and one other have been posted to the 12-step free yahoo discussion group. You may find this as interesting as I have and worthy of comment on your respective sites/blogs.

Best wishes



"Prohibition flowered directly out of the rich soils of the temperance movement, and yet it only set the stage for a very dismal failure: Consumption of hard liquor (which was easier to smuggle) rose, while overall drinking fell. A typical "temperance" culture, the U.S. gave birth to Alcoholics Anonymous, which has flourished in other temperance cultures, such as England, Canada, and Scandinavia. Notes Levine, "AA is really a religious movement that has tremendous continuity with the 19th century temperance movement. And AA's understanding of alcoholism is the central understanding of addiction in American culture overall."

"Alcohol consumption, especially hard liquor, has seen a steady decline to 74 percent of its mid-1970s record high. Still, 13 million Americans are alcoholics. As researchers increasingly realize, a society's attitudes about alcohol strongly impact how individuals handle drinking. In Mediterranean, nontemperance cultures, wine is as common as bread, and individuals drink every day without becoming "problem" drinkers. The per capita rate of alcohol consumption is high; cirrhosis is common; but behavioral problems from alcohol are rare, and society does not lay the blame for its ills at alcohol's door.

"In sharp and astonishing contrast, a temperance culture is highly ambivalent about "demon" alcohol, which is seen as a significant cause of our society's problems. In America, for instance, addiction is considered a root cause of violence. "In temperance cultures, people drink to get drunk. They tend to drink in short bursts of explosive, binge drinking. Wine cultures rarely get fall-down drunk," says Levine."

Hello again Andrew,

Thanks for the input.

I also noticed something off-base about the article, and sent the following letter:

To: Kaja Perina Editor in Chief, psychologytoday.com

Hello. Thank you for the article about alcoholism, "Back From the Drink; Treatments for alcoholism that work", by Jill Neimark and Claire Conway in 1994.

I found it informative and balanced, particularly in its handling of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have a question — and really wish the article had included a bibliography. The reference to Emil Jr. Chiauzzi, Ph.D., and Steven Liljegren, Ph.D. does not list a publication:

The authors reference:
According to Emil Jr. Chiauzzi, Ph.D., and Steven Liljegren, Ph.D., there is no rigorous scientific evidence to support some widespread AA teachings. Some of the disputed myths include:

  • Addicts cannot quit on their own. In fact, say Chiauzzi and Liljegren, 95 percent of smokers stop without the help of peers or professionals, even though addicted people themselves consider nicotine more addicting than alcohol. Although only about 20 percent of alcoholics recover solo, many may not be tapping their ability to do so.


That 20 percent number seems way too low. The Harvard Medical School's "Mental Health Newsletter" reported that 80% of the people who successfully quit drinking self-destructively did it alone, on their own.
See: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Harvard_Mental

So can somebody name the publication from which the authors were quoting Chiauzzi and Liljegren?

Thank you, and have a good day.

(Well, that's what I tried to send. I had to delete the pleasantries at the beginning and end in order to get under their 200 word limit on emails...)

The whole issue of temperance movements and prohibition is just such a fascinating subject.

The interesting thing is that the best way to promote a vice is to outlaw it. That has happened so often in our history that it cannot be a coincidence. It makes me wonder whether maybe we are really just a bunch of rebellious hairless monkeys who don't like rules... :-)

One of my favorite quotes on the subject of Temperance Movements is:

The diagnosis of drunkenness was that it was a disease for which the patient was in no way responsible, that it was created by existing saloons, and non-existing bright hearths, smiling wives, pretty caps and aprons. The cure was the patent nostrum of pledge-signing, a lying-made-easy invention, which like calomel, seldom had any permanent effect on the disease for which it was given, and never failed to produce another and a worse. Here the care created an epidemic of forgery, falsehood and perjury.
Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-1884), U.S. newspaperwoman, abolitionist, and human rights activist. Half a Century, ch. 30 (1880).

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Prohibition is evil and should be prohibited.

Date: Thu, August 31, 2006 3:03 pm
From: "R.T.B."
Subject: Have you ever heard of this?


Oh yeh. See the page on Snake Oil, https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-snake_oil.html

Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 2:58 AM
From: "Mvega"
Subject: Re: Hi!

Hope you're ok bud....no not if you relapsed....I mean if you're ok.
Haven't seen the site updated for awhile now.
Happy living Orange!

Hi. No relapse. I'm just fine. I've been doing everything from volunteering for a community project to playing in the sunshine to repairing my computer. I shall get caught up on some email pretty soon.

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.

Date: Thu, August 31, 2006 2:09 pm
From: "Mvega"
Subject: Re: Hi!

I said it wrong lol! I meant I didn't think you relapsed lol. I was worried about car accident or something. Glad to see you're ok!

Hi again Mvega,

It isn't your fault. It's okay.

There are just a few wagging tongues out there who are forever hinting that I have relapsed.
If I go on vacation and goof off for a while, they are sure that I must have relapsed.
On the other hand, when I work hard on the web site, they complain that I am "obsessed with proving A.A. wrong."

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Abstinence isn't self-denial or deprivation.
**  It's just that I've already done my lifetime quota.

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Last updated 27 April 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters68.html