Letters, We Get Mail, LXXIV

Date: Sun, September 24, 2006 1:02 pm
From: "F. Michael H."
Subject: Invitation to an open meeting in Sag Harbor, New York

Hi A. Orange

How about seeing what a real open meeting is about, where in fact there are atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, evangelicals and all manner of spiritual beliefs represented every Friday night in a tolerant, compassionate and safe place to grow and share?

Come on A. Orange, test the hypothesis...

Hello Michael,

Apparently you haven't read the introduction to the web site, here. I have been to a zillion A.A. and N.A. meetings, including one where one nice lady shared what she thought spirituality means, in a sensible and humble manner, immediately followed by a nutcase who raved about how the 12 Steps are a gift from God and he is overwhelmed by what a genius Bill Wilson was to have invented 12 perfect steps that could solve all of the problems of the world.

Worst of all, even the nicest meetings are started by reading Bill Wilson's official lies from pages 58 through 60 of the Big Book. It seems like A.A. just cannot and will not start a meeting by really telling the truth.

I don't need to go to any more meetings to see "the real A.A.".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been
**  bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the
**  bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a
**  charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
**  == Carl Sagan

Date: Sun, September 24, 2006 7:47 pm
From: "Steve B."
Subject: To Whom it May Concern

Dear Orange,

First let me compliment you on your web site. It is by far the most comprehensive dissection of A.A. that I have ever come across.

However, what you may not understand is that some alcoholics need to be controlled because they just cannot control themselves. They are truly incapable of thinking for themselves and are often very rebellious. They do not want to be told that they have to give up their present higher power (the lizard-mind addiction monster). And if there isn't something to replace it then they will feel lost and eventually go back to their addiction monster. For some it's like trying to take a security blanket away from a child, so you have to spoon feed them a program that will essentially hold their hand for the rest of their lives. This is much better than spending years in prison for vehicular manslaughter for them and especially for their possible future victims. Even if you have to brain wash these addicts in believing in the Easter bunny to get them to stop drinking and/or using, this is for their own good and you would be pressed to find any law abiding citizen that would have something against doing what ever it takes to get these people to stop the insanity.

I agree that there should be some professional evaluation to determine any possible brain damage, mental retardation, schizophrenia, psychopathy and so forth among addicts to determine the best treatment for that individual. However this should be the responsibility of the courts. And then if no mental illness is found they should be mandated to enter treatment given a chose between a faith-based program, such as A.A., and a non-faith based program such as Hampstead Hospital Rational Recovery Program.

What your site is doing is denouncing a program without coming up with any alternative program. Nor do you offer any education about alcoholism, such as why some people are predisposed to becoming alcoholics.

There is a good book out by Jerry Dorsman, titled "How to Quit Drinking Without AA". I am not affiliated with the book at all, I just happened to have read it and found that it was what helped me.

Let me also say that I have not read your entire site (you have a lot of material) so I might be wrong about you not having an education page. So I'm still reading your page on my spare time. I am curious to know how long it has taken you to comprise your web site.

Hope you did not mind this critique.

Thanks, Steve

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the letter. No, I don't mind a critique at all. I welcome all kinds of thoughts and inputs, especially when somebody is actually thinking, rather than just parrotting cult dogma.

Starting at the top, I have a lot of big questions about the whole concept of alcoholics needing supervision and somebody to tell them what to do. Has there been any real research on this subject? While it may seem sensible to supervise newly-detoxed alcoholics and prevent them from drinking, does it actually work to produce greater long-term sobriety?

Have there really been any randomized longitudinal controlled studies to test whether tight control and supervision works to make alcoholics get and stay sober?

This question is of course a lot more than just of academic importance. It's a life-or-death issue for a lot of people.

What I have seen is not encouraging. It seems like those who are going to relapse do so anyway. Some of them might wait until they get out of "the program", but they still relapse anyway.

My own father provides a case study. He crawled back from Mexico with "burning veins". He had been living off of his military retirement checks down there for a few years, living like a king and killing himself with huge quantities of cheap rotgut whiskey. When he finally came back to the USA, he had so much alcohol in his blood that it was literally burning the insides of his veins.

He ended up in a Christian monastery in Arizona where they taught him to yammer slogans about Jesus, "getting closer to Him", and all of that. He stayed there for two years, living a real monastic life. Then he left to go get a straight job in the outside world. He stopped in at a bar to get a drink to bolster his nerves for the job interview, and that was that. He never made it to the job interview. (He made it back to Mexico for another couple of years of suicidal drinking.) He didn't last one day outside, on his own, supervising himeself. The monastery may have taught him to stay sober while he had a boss who constantly supervised him and told him not to drink, but that monastic program apparently did nothing for teaching him to supervise himself, and keep himself sober.

A.A. has the same problem. A.A. cannot supervise people 24x7. A bossy, dogmatic, hard-core Stepper supervisor is no guarantee of sobriety. In fact, when all is said and done, A.A. still produces no more sobriety than the other people get who go it alone and do it all on their own.

I just have not seen any good research on the subject of rigid control and supervision, one way or the other — especially not tests that follow the subjects for a year or two to see whether they stay sober after the rigid supervision ends.

I can only guess that while a short program of regimented life may be helpful to keep people from relapsing during the first few months when they are new to sobriety and shakey, in the long run, it doesn't work, or at least it doesn't improve on the situation any.

All of the so-called alcoholism treatment programs have the same problem: They get a small temporary success rate in getting people to quit drinking for a month or two, followed by the "graduates" relapsing left and right, until at the one-year point, there is no difference between those alcoholics who got "treatment", and those who didn't.

So what is the answer for the people who simply will always relapse if they are not strictly regimented and controlled? Concentration camps for alcoholics, where they will spend the rest of their lives? That question is not a joke. Really, do we let them kill themselves, or do we imprison them for their own good? Do we really believe in freedom?

Oh, and rigid supervision does not mean that newly-detoxed alcoholics should get cult dogma and A.A. misinformation passed off as "education about alcoholism". The A.A. beliefs about alcoholism are grossly wrong, and should not be shoved on anybody, under any guise.

I know about the book "How to Quit Drinking Without AA". I added it to the bibliography a couple of years ago. (Click on the book name.) I read it so long ago that I have basically forgotten what it said. My own notes on it say that it is good, and gives another slant on alcoholism, although I don't use its recommended techniques.

About complaining that I criticize existing programs without supplying an alternative:

  1. First, I am not required to supply an alternative. I can criticize and denounce completely useless quack cures for cancer and AIDS without having to supply a working cure, can't I? Is alcoholism any different there? We should all denounce quackery, whenever and whereever we see it. And we don't have to provide an alternative treatment.

  2. Secondly, we (correspondents and I) are constantly talking about what else works, and what has helped people, and what kinds of things people did to get and stay sober. The letters section is loaded with people's stories about what is working for them, and I'm always inviting more. Look here for one list of such discussions.

Your statement that alcoholics should be given a choice between a faith-based program like A.A., or Rational Recovery, is a false dichotomy. That is, it's a false choice. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a faith-based program, it is a superstitious dishonest cult religion. Things like the Catholic Calix and St. Vincent DePaul programs are faith-based approaches to the problem. A.A. is a cult that is based on lies. There is a huge difference there.

Likewise, you wrote, "Nor do you offer any education about alcoholism, such as why some people are predisposed to becoming alcoholics."

Jeez Loise! How many times do I have to say it? We have talked endlessly about the genetic factors, psychological factors, child abuse, bitter divorces, deaths, and other negative life experiences, and how those things do or might contribute to alcoholism. We have had quite a long discussion about what causes alcoholism, and it is far from over.

I've been working on this web site for almost 6 years now, from the first rudimentary paper about Alcoholics Anonymous that turned into a long paper that turned into the original postings on Apple's "AA Deprogramming" web site, to my own successive web sites. (And I don't know when it will end.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, September 25, 2006 7:11 am
From: "James Q."
Subject: The OTHER 12 Steps

Dear A. Orange,

Love your site. Just thought you might get a kick out of this:


Here's the original AA version:




Hi James,

Those are good. Thanks for the link.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*   If you have to pray for some "Higher Power" or "God" to save you
*   from alcoholism, why is that called a "Self-Help Movement"?

Date: Mon, September 25, 2006 11:08 am
From: h.
Subject: this and that

Dear Orange:

Just a few thoughts.

I am sure that I repeat myself.

AA is about "dis empowerment". When one joins AA, a person surrenders personal autonomy. The question begged is: What does AA gain? The question needs to be asked: Qui bono? Does AA need people to be vulnerable? It is not a question of AA zealotry; it is a question of AA being a patholical organization which needs "weakness"?

AA gains — a great deal.

A sponsor gains. A sponsor when they help someone else, help themselves. The sponsor is the driver; not, the newcomer. It is not a case of the sponsor saying: these are your choices: doing it on your own; choosing amoung options; and these are several of your options: AA, SMART, SOS, LifeRing, etc. That is not done. The concept of informed consent does not exist.

Thus, a sponsor needs sponsor someone; for his own needs. There are no qualifications worthy of the name in order to be a sponsor.

Does AA have guidelines?

What is the relatonship between the SAT industry and AA?

Who is the driver?

I must say that I think that AA is a pathological oranization which uses human vulnerabity to get new members. I do not consider it necessary to call it a "cult"

It is, imho, a patholical organization which has a gained a reputation for "helping suffering alcoholics". But, the means that are employed are quite obvious forms of emotional blackmail. The methods employed are, quite clearly, geared to the most vulnerable.

That may go some way toward describing why 5% remain after one year.

Thank you for your site!!! It is a breath of fresh air.

The current state of the SAT industry reminds me of leeches. At one time, the medical profession believed in bleeding; in the fulness of time, 12 step and AA may go the way of leeches.! Perhaps wrong death lawsuits may change matters.

Owing to the state of things, I must be anonymous.

Call me "H" only.

Okay, H.,

Thanks for the letter. That's some stuff to think about.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, September 25, 2006 12:44 pm
From: "anon0856"
Subject: So Much Hostility

I read through your essay on Bill W. I'll be praying that you get over your obvious resentments someday and let go of things you have no control over.

Live and let live, my friend.

Hello Anon,

Yes, live and let live. So let's work to end the harming of alcoholics and drug addicts with crazy 12-Step nonsense.

Have a good day.

== 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, 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: Mon, September 25, 2006 5:47 pm
From: "sarah"


This photo is incorrectly labeled on your site. The original is at Stepping Stones but the photo was taken in Los Angles, Christmas of 1948.

Hi Sarah,

Ah, okay, thank you for the information. That makes sense, because what is the foliage in the background doing alive at Christmas time? Not in Vermont...

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Responses to an Internet search for information on
**  the deadly "mersa staphlococcus":
**  Shop and compare great deals on mersa staphlococcus and
**  other related products at MonsterMarketplace.
**  http://www.MonsterMarketplace.com
**  Look for mersa staphlococcus on eBay
**  Search eBay for mersa staphlococcus. Bid on auctions or use
**  Buy it Now to purchase items from customer-rated sellers.
**  http://search.ebay.com/

[The previous letter from Wolf is here.]

Date: Tue, September 26, 2006 6:10 am
From: "Mr. A J W"
Subject: More from the Wolf in the UK

Hi Orange,

Just to let you know that it must be 6 months for me now without an AA meeting after fifteen years of regular attendance and things just keep getting better. The depression is lifting and I have more self-confidence than I can ever remember. I visit your pages less and less, which is what I think you want — more living and less blathering about recovery — but I remain ever grateful for the work you do.

Best Wishes from the Wolf

Hi again Wolf,

Thanks for the letter. And you are right about building your own life and not needing either A.A. or my web pages. In fact, I have to twist my own arm to get myself to spend time on them, and get caught up on my email and other updates. The outdoors and sunshine and fresh air are so inviting, and I know that there won't be a lot more of it, as autumn is closing in fast, and winter is just around the corner.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,
**  lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
**    ==  Redd Foxx (1922 — 1991)

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 1:40 am
From: "James G"
Subject: Thought I'd let you answer these


Been getting a couple of emails from a man recently who refers to you a lot. I do not really want to answer for you and as such thought I would send you the extracts that mention you and thus offer you the chance to answer them yourself.

Hope you are well.


*You think you and Orange alone can change AA?*

I left AA because I realised I could not change it but I can help others see it for what it is — which is an institution that engages in a war on self. As for Orange I can't speak for him, but I don't think he is that interested in changing AA, but you'll have to check that out with him. If anything I would like to see my work as helping to create a more accurate and balanced public perception of AA.

Yes. I am not interested in "changing A.A.". I just want to end it, or at least end the coercive recruiting and the use of A.A. as "therapy" that is funded by the government and health insurance companies.

I don't believe that it is possible to fix or reform Alcoholics Anonymous.

*The 95% figure is simply wrong. That figure that Orange quotes is wildly out of date — and its scribbled on a piece of paper in hand writing [we dont belive our governments about WMD and there presentations cost millions, yet 1 scrawl on 1 piece of paper holds such substance?]. Im not saying this because im related to Bill Dubya,im saying this because i know it is wrong. I know it is, i ganged together with 10 people in early recovery — and we have all stayed sober for nearly a year. We met in AA. we phone each other,go out,socialise and even have days where we dont talk book. I know around 30+ people from 3 meetings who have been sober for more than 3 years. I thought the 95% was true,until i started asking people in the meetings. Your problem is that you are not asking people, you are quoting Orange.Andyou cant say that Orange doesnt have an agenda to undermine AA — he does. Thats not a personal attack by the way, my aim is not to use ad hominem and all that debating tactic that Orange talks about — i cant even remember the styles he talks about it's so not me. Im just a sober fat bloke down here who has kept sober using AA:-))))*

I don't know where this guy is getting his "facts". He imagines that the 5% number came from some hand-written scribblings on some old piece of paper? What on earth is he talking about?

The five percent number came from quite a variety of sources:

  1. Bill Wilson's secretary Nell Wing wrote that A.A. "could only help 5%".
  2. Lois Wilson's secretary Francis Hartigan reported that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob calculated that they had only a 5% success rate in recruiting and sobering up alcoholics.
  3. The Australian A.A. leader said that they too had a 95% dropout rate in the first year — that only 5% remained after a year.
  4. Professor George E. Vaillant, who is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., likewise reported that only 5% of his A.A.-treated patients got sober and stayed sober through the 8-year duration of his study.

The fact that 10 of that guy's friends got sober and stayed sober (for 1 year) is not an indication of the A.A. success rate. That is what you call a Semi-Attached Figure. The writer did not mention how many failures there were. There were ten successes, but how many hundreds of failures happened at the same time? The writer ignores that. The same question applies to the "30 people from 3 meetings". How many dropouts and relapses did those 3 A.A. groups have during the 3 years that the 30 people were sober?

Pointing to a few success stories does not establish a rate. A rate is "something per something else", like miles per hour, or sober successes per 100 newcomers.

Thanks for the input. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A well conducted professional study" showed that
** "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
** after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
** Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"
** == Dr. Ron Whitington — Chairman General Service Board,
** AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 2:39 am
From: "Scott S."
Subject: Question on your article on AA

Dear Sir, I have just found your papers online about AA. And although I have not read it in its entirety (perhaps in your papers you answer my question) I have been wondering what prompted you to write such a thorough and in depth article, exposé — into the beginnings of AA?

Sincerely, Scott S.

Hello Scott,

The funny answer is that I didn't really intend to write such a web site. I only intended to write one paper, much like a term paper, maybe 30 or 40 pages double-spaced, about Alcoholics Anonymous and why it is inappropriate to use A.A. (or N.A.) as "treatment" for alcoholism. The thing just kind of grew and grew.

These three links give the background information about the motivation:

Have a good day.

== 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: Wed, September 27, 2006 11:52 am
From: "Jeff B."
Subject: orange papers

who are you an why an agenda against a.a?

See the previous letter, here.

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.

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 3:08 pm
From: "John M."
Subject: adios for now; originally "is this socially harmful"

Hi, I'll apologize in advance for the length of this letter, but at least you won't have to write a lengthy reply! I have my alcoholism back under control for the first time in five years. Prior to this I had had 19 years of sobriety without using A.A. (I got clean in a residential 12 month, non-12 step therapy program). I started relapsing five years ago and now have had a total of four relapses each of only a few months duration and each progressively shorter than the one before. My last relapse was almost six months ago and only lasted a week; though I almost managed to kill myself the last day by falling and hitting my head so hard. I have never been big on AA. and so probably would not have stayed whether I heard of you or not; (actually I ran into your website by plugging in "Anti- Alcoholics Anonymous" which shows you where my head was at).

I have already "qualified" in a prior letter so that other readers could not dismiss me as not really an alcoholic so do not need to be redundant. I want to comment on what I have learned about myself and my experience for the benefit of others. Much of what I have learned revolves around what you call the "lizard brain" model. I will henceforth refer to my base brain thoughts as "LB" . (this sounds anthropomorphic but I do realize that LB is an integral part of me and not some "devil made me do it" outside force but for the sake of simplicity I will refer to LB as if it were a distinct non-integrated part of my psych).

When I got out of rehab I was 25 years old and I intentionally started finding and doing things that I enjoyed to do (AA was not one of them), I have lots of interests and many of them revolved around physical activities; running, the beach, going to the gym, hiking, traveling, meditating and playing piano, to name just a few; most of these are incompatible with being drunk or with smoking which I also quit on my own when I was 26. After a few years of living with the only slogan AA says worth remembering; "Don't drink no matter what", LB started to realize that the only pleasures he was going to get were these new "fun" activities. I also went out to clubs,bars, discos etc. almost immediately after getting out of rehab to meet people and never had any desire to drink as LB was kept under control with the promise of "sex and a good time".

Like I said after two years LB seemed to have gone into hibernation in regards to both alcohol and tobacco (which I haven't had a craving for in 22 years) and had to make do with new pleasures; I was to the point where I could have bathed in alcohol and it would never have occured to me to drink. But LB is patient. after 19 years of not drinking I was in Italy and the waiter brought over an after dinner shot of something along with dessert and LB went berserk; after 19 years surely I could have one little shot etc... and this time I did. The problem was that it was no big deal. I didn't go on a spree or get so drunk I was kicked out of Italy or anything; I actually didn't have another drink for several weeks when I had "two shots" and LB was patiently fucking me over because it was several months before LB had me back as a full blown "drunk every night" alcoholic; but the full blown period only lasted a couple of weeks and ironically I think that I have to thank LB for this; since drinking was incompatible with my other joys in life LB played it safe and I only drank just before I went to bed and got as fucked up as I could and went to sleep to sleep it off. Each time I got to the point that I drank before just going to bed was the last drinking day of the relapse; this was because I couldn't do the other things in life that LB got joy out of (not to the intense degree of alcohol but at a much steadier supply).

Then I would go for a year or more and relapse again; it took me four relapses to figure out the problem; when I first quit drinking I knew that there was no way that I could have only one drink and stop there. LB was clever and patient; after 19 years of sobriety he introduced the concept of "controlled drinking". This I believe is the reason for the three additional relapses; it took me almost five years to realize it was only an illusion of control and it got me to the same place after a month or so; complete alcoholism.

Now that I know this I am back to where I was before I started relapsing; I don't think about drinking alcohol anymore than it would occur to me to drink clorox. Life is good; I am back to an agreement with LB, he has to make do with the smaller doses of pleasure that are a day to day occurence because he will kill both of us if he insists that I drink. I feel that my battle is once again over and done with. I don't believe that A.A. is socially good for you even if you don't believe the bullshit as you are doing nothing to keep either you or LB entertained and furthermore you are sitting around in a room doing nothing but discussing the one thing you should be trying to get over.

Like I said I will probably not be writing to you anymore, though I will continue to read your website; you are doing a great service to people helping them understand themselves and what can and can't help them. I can't resist a few comments parting comments;

  • 1) Dry Drunks; if a drunk is defined as someone who is perpetually under the influence of alcohol then surely a "dry drunk" must be someone who is perpetually thinking about alcohol (sound like any group you know of?),

  • 2) There are no coincidences; I had no idea that you were into ducks and swans until I was reading your letters one day just after I had first quit going to meetings and had spent the hour that I would have been at the meeting watching a pair of bluejays chasing away every bird that came by their tree including a hawk, and thinking to myself that this had given me more pleasure than any hour of AA could possibly have. Then I looked up your site and you were talking about the "daily meeting" down by the river. In AA this would have been perceived of as divine intervention; but no, it was merely a flukey coincidence, these things happen all the time.

  • 3) Birthdays in AA; talk about giving away your fundamentalist roots, I wasn't "born again" when I quit drinking. I celebrate "anniversaries" of sobriety.

  • And finally 4) Spirituality; although you address this in your papers about seances etc.. I don't think you state clearly enough that the word has a significantly different meaning since the late sixties than it did in the 1930's. In neither case does it rule out religion, but prior to the late 1960's spiritualism generally referred to an adherent of "spiritualism" complete with a belief system of divine and spiritual intervention, seances, ouiji boards, ectoplasm etc. After the late 60's the term generally started referring to a belief in the more mystical aspects that all religions share; a "cosmic consciousness", a feeling of belonging or of at being "one" with nature and other people, and sometimes an annoying (to me at least) belief in new age philosophy. It does not refer to God directing your every thought, action etc.. I don't know if AA actually uses this change of meaning as a bait and switch consciously or not but they certainly don't emphasize the different meaning that William Wilson (and my grandmother) had with the word than most people today have.

Finally and oddly; I happen to be gay, I went to about an equal number of straight versus gay meetings those first three months; when I see people from straight meetings they usually act like they have no idea who I am or if they do talk to me it is in a very condescending way, most of the gay AA members seem genuinely pleased to see me and hear that I am fine. Can't figure out why except that maybe growing up in a society that tells you so many hateful lies about yourself make gay AA members a little less able to swallow any totalitarian generalizations like those offered in AA.

Well like I said it's long but you won't be hearing from me again (maybe I'll run a short anniversary letter to you but am actually trying my best to intentionally forget the date as I think people put too much significance on it.

Thanks for assisting me in clearing up my thinking; Be good and keep your LB full with the many pleasures of life.

John M recovered alcoholic

Hi John,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on your victories. It sounds good. And thanks for the compliments.

That is a very perceptive point you make about the changing meaning of the word "spirituality". Of course the psychedelic revolution of the sixties changed the meaning of the word. I sort of knew that, but it didn't consciously occur to me just how different the word has become. Bill Wilson and the A.A. members of the 'thirties just were not coming from the same place as the Baby Boomers are, and the word doesn't mean the same thing to all of us. Bill Wilson's spiritism — complete with ouija boards and spirit rapping — strikes me as the worst sort of superstitious nonsense, and not "spiritual" at all.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet."
**       — Saint Augustine (354—430)

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 4:25 pm
From: "susan m."
Subject: Re: A.A.'s approach

To: A. Orange,

Happened totally by accident upon your "Letters22."

Oddly enough, I've been going to A.A. for two months. This has not been my first time there. I've relapsed many times.

Within the past week, I've had an uncomfortable feeling while reading the B.B. I initially needed the freedom to interpret God or a Higher Power, as I understood him. I still need it. I'm involved presently in a Step Study within A.A. It is Week Five and we are at the Chapter in the BB entitled "More on Alcoholism." One of our Step Study questions asks us to stress whether we are either going to live with God in our lives or not. We have to answer yes or no.

I'm feeling pressured by this. I don't want to become 'religious.' Well, to be completely honest, (an A.A. trait, LOL,) I dont' 'think' I want to become involved in an organized religion per se, but the bottom line is that I want the time and the understanding (my own,) to think further on it and conclude what I believe. I don't want a certain page in any book telling me I must decide to turn my life over to God right there and then.

It has truly been feeling liking I'm being asked to become a Bible Thumper and no, I don't, thank you very much.

In saying this, I do find peace amongst the rooms of A.A. As long as I can think of a Higher Power in the vein I wish, (which for me is non-religious, but spiritual) I am fine. But asking for my complete will? My gut has been telling me NO.

So, interesting that I came across your site by accident. I was googling to learn more about a T-Bill (in financial terms,) and it took me to your Letters22 page! Coincidence? I feel there's got to be some relevance in the fact I stumbled upon your site! Either I'm being lead into some evil anti-A.A. den, or the God of my understanding is 'showing' me (by way of your site,) it's okay to question Bill W.!!

Bottom line, I am writing because I wanted to ask you something. I hope you don't mind giving me an answer. Are you an alcoholic, and if so, have you yourself tried A.A.?

Thank you.

Susan M.

Hello Susan,

Thanks for the letter. The answer to both of your questions is "Yes". Yes, I'm an alcoholic who has recovered, and yes, I have been to a zillion A.A. and N.A. meetings. Check out these two links:

Good luck with your recovery, 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.

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 8:06 pm
From: "James G"


Get this link up as fast as you can of Penn and Teller's Bullsh!t — 12 Steps...

I dont know how this happened but some very nice guy has posted this episode on Vsocial — must be a Higher Power moment or something. I can't believe he beat me to it, but oh well...;) I can't tell you how annoyed I am he got there first but I didn't really want to breach copyright or anything — I am straight edge after all. Whoever this chap is, thanks buddy!! Woo Hoo!!!

J a m e s G


PS Can you remind me of Step Nine again? Oops hmm.

Hi James,

Thanks for that link. That's great. I've been trying to get that video for the longest time. That was the one that was impossible to download. And it is so true, and so entertaining. And funny.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

UPDATE: 2013.01.22: Someone posted the great Penn & Teller episode in its entirely as a single file:

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Twelve-Step programs, now that's bullshit."
**      == Penn and Teller

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 8:29 pm
From: "mehol
Subject: Good website

Just found your web site. Thanks for the info, good luck

Okay, Mehol,

Thanks for the thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem
**  to have."    ==    Thomas Jefferson (1743--1826)

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 9:09 pm
From: "Joseph M."
Subject: Thank You

Agent Orange:

Thanks for all of the letters and responses you have posted recently. I enjoy reading them. I love your site. Thanks again.

Joe M.

Hi John,

Thanks for the thanks, and the compliments. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
**      — Napoleon Bonaparte (1769—1821)

Date: Wed, September 27, 2006 11:06 pm
From: "genxjunk"
Subject: freedom from AA — thanks for the help!


As I write, I am presently celebrating my zero-and-540 (18 months without a meeting... can't give up the cheesy slogans). I should say it is something of an accomplishment because I am now alcohol and drug free for 15 years and much of that time was spent around AA. At 21, I could see that my alcoholism was not a passing phase that I would grow out of. I never felt 'powerless' about my lifestyle and the decisions that I made around drinking, but once I had a few in me, all bets were off. Whenever I started drinking, it's like a switch would flip. I would crave alcohol the way a starving man craves food. I could occasionally resist the craving just as a prisoner on hunger strike might resist food (brain overriding the body), but over the long haul, the craving would always win. I was a college student, I loved the lifestyle, I had a lot of fun and I didn't want the party to stop. Consequently, I spent a long time trying to convince myself that I could beat the craving and drink in a socially acceptable manner. By the time I hit 21, I was convinced otherwise. I knew that the physical craving would only be relieved by total abstinence from alcohol. I came to that conclusion entirely on my own. Nobody ever suggested that I quit drinking or seek out treatment. At my age, most people figured that I was just in a phase and would emerge soon enough as a responsible adult. I'm glad I stopped when I did and cringe at the thought of what might have been. Anyway, both of my parents stopped drinking in AA long ago. Neither of them were actively going to meetings when I asked for help, but they thought it would be a good idea for me to go to AA so that I could meet sober people who would support me in my decision not to drink. I didn't want to go. I had read a little about AA and saw that it was a 'spiritual' program which did not interest or make sense to me at all. I had never considered myself an atheist, but I didn't feel that an imaginary friend was what I needed to solve my problems. To make a long story short, I went to a meeting shortly after I stopped drinking and continued to go for the next 13 years with varying levels of involvement. Fortunately, I am one of those lucky souls who never had a relapse. I attribute my success to having drawn my own conclusions without having any reservations whatsoever.

The reason I am writing is that I see a lot of people bashing you and your website. Granted, you are a tad bitter about certain subjects, but I find your rants to be both refreshing and entertaining. I have enjoyed many hours reading the orange papers and the letter correspondence that accompanies them. Keep up the good work. I have literally been to thousands of meetings. I have worked the steps with a Big Book thumping sponsor. I have sponsored people. I have been involved in the service structure. I have made coffee. I have chaired meetings. I have volunteered at jails and institutions. I have been to conferences and conventions. I've also been the guy who sits in the back and says nothing. I've been the guy that openly dissents from the standard dogma. I've been the guy who dares to have a life without utter abandonment to AA. I can tell you that many of the negatives presented in the orange papers are consistent with what I've seen in my AA tenure. Unfortunately, AA does harm some people. I've seen people ridiculed for not believing what they have been 'suggested' to believe. I've seen people degraded for not doing the things have been 'suggested' to them. I have seen AA's holier-than-thou attitudes chase people away. These suffering alcoholics are probably better off without AA, but in the meantime, they have been demoralized more then they were prior to arriving at AA. I've seen sponsors give out advice on subjects that they have no business advising people on. I've seen more cases of the self-fulfilling prophesy than I can count. People are told that their life can 'hardly be a success' without a higher power. People are told that the precursor to relapse is a decline in meeting attendance. Guess what? Some people are never going to believe in a personal higher power that can solve their problems. Some people are never going to fit in at meetings no matter how 'open minded' they are and how much they 'keep coming back'. I know that members and meetings have their own personalities, but it is very rare that a newcomer will hear something along these lines: "You know what? AA doesn't have all the answers and this might not be right for you. Maybe you should try an alternative to the 12 steps. Is there anything I can do to help?" Instead, 99.9% of the time, the newcomer is simply told that hard work, honesty, service and a willingness to believe in a higher power is all that is required.

My eyes were opened in January of 2003. I was working on my taxes and was wondering if the dollars that I put in the meeting basket could be claimed as a charitable deduction. I decided to look on the intranet. This was the first time I had ever keyed 'alcoholics anonymous' into a search engine. I found all kinds of articles on AA, both pro and con. Among the articles that I chose to read was the orange papers. In the orange papers, I found many of my own dissenting thoughts written out in cyberspace. I had read all of the conference approved AA 'history' books, but never anything that provided a dissenting point of view. From my beginnings in AA, I internally challenged the spiritual approach to recovery, but for the most part kept my ideas to myself. I had done all of the steps and gone to big book studies over the years, but never felt quite right about it. When sponsoring people, I couldn't make myself present the 'AA message' in good conscience. I often told people that they should find a spiritual sponsor if spirituality was something that was important to them. I always seemed to gravitate towards people that weren't AA extremists. Whenever I shared, I could only talk about real life experiences. I never got that 'inner peace of knowing God'. During a two year stint as my home group's GSR, I had the privilege of meeting many of AA's finest. To this day, I think the AA service elite are some of the most dysfunctional people I have ever met. At the time, I liked to refer to them as acquaintances of circumstance. Why would someone who has double digit sobriety still go to a meeting every day, sponsor 10+ people and spend 3 out of 4 weekends at some type of service function? I understand being grateful for sobriety and giving back, but at what point does a person need to get on with life? Where's the balance? Why is it so important that the 12 step religion be spread to all ends of the earth and why is it that a select few dictate exactly how it be done?

I eventually left AA. All along, my motivation for going was to have a sober support group. At 15 years, many of my friends had moved on (family life, etc) and at the risk of sounding condescending, the newcomers were a little rough around the edges to be my new sober pals. That being said, the social aspect of AA wasn't what it once was for me. In addition, I never genuinely bought into the 'solution'. I tried to tell myself that AA's steps were just suggestions. I lived by the motto 'take what you need and leave the rest'. AA's most sacred text said otherwise. Almost every meeting I've ever attended is started with a prayer and a reading of 'How it Works'. It is pretty hard to interpret "There is one who has all power...that one is God...may you find him now!" as a suggestion. The chapters that precede this statement tell me that an alcoholic must decide between almost certain death and a spiritual way of life. How can I disagree with such a basic tenet of the program and still call myself a member of AA? This would equate to a Catholic who doesn't believe that Jesus Christ was the messiah. For a while, I stuck around AA and tried to pitch an alternative message. This made the true believers angry. I was 'diluting' message. Finally, I had had enough. I left. I'm happy. Maybe I'll return someday, but I doubt it.

Orange, please post this letter. I'd like people to hear my story. Thanks again for the orange papers.

Okay, Gen X,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And the story is fascinating. I love to hear from the people who have really been through the whole A.A. experience for many years (and whose minds survived it... :-)

Have a good day now. And a happy life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "You got to be careful if you don't know where
**   you're going, because you might not get there."
**       ==  Yogi Berra

Date: Thu, September 28, 2006 7:58 am
From: "John L."
Subject: 12 step programs

A. Orange —

I just read your article called the "effectiveness of twelve step treatment." Although I've been in NA for over ten years, no physical relapses, I agree with some of what you propose. Statistical arguments, though, are always capable of being skewed to prove a point or start from a fallacious premise or limited sample, so I don't give that too much weight. And the examples you gave based on your Murphy's Law corollary, "The thing you seek always seems to be in the last place that you look," seems a bit simplistic. I did go to a D&A rehab facility for 28 days. I have gone to many meeting over the years and tried to conduct myself in accordance with certain principles and guidelines that really anyone could put to use in their lives. I also try to weed out the AA and NA bullcrap, too. But it was the first "place I looked" and it has been, so far, the last "place" I looked, BECAUSE IT HAS WORKED for me. I was not a person who was going to go into to some "spontaneous remission" any time soon. I needed something to encourage me, to tell me it was going to be allright, even when things looked their darkest. That was not going to happen "spontaneously" for me. My so-called "remission" is the result of a type of treatment that for me worked, called NA.

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter. I disagree about what has worked for you. What really worked was your will power — the strength of your resolve to just not dope or drink any more. The 12-Step program would obviously be totally useless if you had not decided to quit your unhealthy habits, and then really done it.

Why did you go into a treatment program? Because you had already decided to change your life for the better. THAT is the magic that does it.

But I still find your article most fascinating, because at heart I'm still somewhat of a rebel and a skeptic, even when it comes to NA. But I can't knock what works, so there isn't much point in seeking something else, is there? I don't know, maybe there is.

Again, you are assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists.

It is true that NA doesn't work for everyone — but I've seen many aspects of that story: people who it DOES really work for, that when they put some effort into their own treatment, they can have great non-spontaneous success — they were most certainly NOT going to get better "anyway."

You are still doing it. You do not know whether they would have quit in some other program, or by going it alone. People do just suddenly quit their self-destructive habits when they get fed up with the suffering and pain. You did. I did. Millions of people do.

And others, even if they do seemingly put the effort into their NA or AA "treatment," were not going to go into "spontaneous remission" — and they don't — and they either continue to suffer or they find something other than 12 step recovery that does work for them — that's great.

You are confusing the issues. If they go to treatment, then by definition, their recovery is not "spontaneous remission". Spontaneous remission is when people just recover, all on their own, without any "treatment" or "program".

And then there are those, as you point out, that go to NA or AA and were going to get better anyway, "spontaneously" but believe it was because of the 12 steps. Is this such a bad thing? No one really knows the percentages of how many addicts fall into what category — and does it really matter?

Yes, it matters immensely, because quacks and fake healers are taking in over $6 billion per year for "treating" alcoholism and drug addiction with cult religion. That is felony fraud, and sucks real money out of the health care system.

I do what works. But your right, if it's not working for me any more — I should not be so closed-minded that I can't conceive of trying something else. It's just that, up 'till now, I haven't had to.

Again, you don't know what works.

I might add, for your benefit, that your view of powerlessness is a bit misguided. Sure some people may use that as an "excuse" to drink more, after they have relapsed once. But that's not about powerlessness, it's about the power of addiction. Addicts are indeed powerless over the addictive substances that they crave: drugs (which includes alcohol), and other behaviors. When it comes to these things, "will power" alone just does not work. That's the whole point.

And that is simply not true. That is Bill Wilson's baloney about how you can't quit drinking without joining his cult and surrendering yourself to "Higher Power".

They get into trouble as soon as they start thinking that they can have some sort of "control" over their drug use, whether it be pain-killers, booze, pot, coke, heroin, whatever, even gambling, sex, food, etc.. Telling addicts that simply their own will power will conquer their addiction does them a great disservice.

Prove that statement. Show me the evidence. I mean really. Once again, I am hearing the standard Stepper line about "You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety", without a shred of evidence to back up that statement.

What medical study or survey showed that addicts cannot use their will power to quit doping or drinking?

Now whether they will choose to do so is another question — a very different question.

And who established that telling the truth to addicts is doing them a disservice?
I mean really, where did that come from, besides from the very common, very usual, cult dogma that says that "You can't tell the truth"?

However, addicts ARE NOT powerless over many aspects of their life, just like anyone else. Think of it like this: I am (as are you) POWERLESS over the weather. I can't make it stop raining anytime I want it to. But that doesn't mean that I'm so powerless that I have to be an idiot and stand out in the rain and get soaked. There ARE different things I can do to keep from getting wet. I can open up my umbrella, if I have one. I can ask someone else if I can share their umbrella, if I don't have one and they do. I can come inside, under shelter, out of the rain. I have the power to do SOMETHING other than to just stand there and get drenched. So it is for some addicts. Their suffering from active addiction is like the rain. They see the shelter of NA or AA and they come in, out of the rain, so to speak, and they don't have to suffer any more. Or they may see the shelter of some other kind of treatment or program that is not 12 step based. Or religion, or psychiatry. If those things work for them, that's great. Either way, they have the power to avail themselves of these solutions. They are certainly NOT powerless to do something about their drinking. That's NOT what 12 step recovery says. And anyone who tells you otherwise is disingenuous about powerlessness.

John L.,
Malvern, PA

Actually, addicts can "come in out of the rain" by just not consuming any more drugs or drinks. (And by quitting smoking.) It's very simple.

It was Bill Wilson, the A.A. founder, who promoted the "powerless" concept. He was the "disingenuous" character who said that you were powerless over alcohol, and just couldn't help but relapse now and then because you would suffer from strange "mental blank spots" where your "defenses against drinking" would give way before some silly thought, and you would just start drinking and be off on a binge before you even knew what was happening.

So the ONLY answer was to join a cult religion and surrender to God, and hope that God feels like saving your worthless ass.

And again, you are assuming that 12-Step programs actually work and make people recover. That is a false assumption.

Show me the evidence. Show me the data. What is the recovery rate in Narcotics Anonymous, or Alcoholics Anonymous? How many success stories (clean and sober for oh, say, 5 years) do you get out of each 1000 newcomers? How does that compare to the normal spontaneous remission rate in addictions?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

[2nd letter from John, immediately following the first:]

Date: Thu, September 28, 2006 9:23 am
From: "John L."
Subject: Orange Jokes

S. A. Orange —

When I read your article earlier today about "effectiveness of the 12 steps, etc.", I thought you were actually a serious scholar, or at least very good at faking it. But now I just read your Orange jokes, Ungroupism, etc. Funny, but profoundly sad at the same time. You come off as an angry, isolated individual. And seemingly an asantaclauseist or some kind of agnostic, at any rate. Please don't be ridiculing the power of Santa Clausian prayer. It works! And cleaning out one's garage is very therapeutic. Cleaning out one's cluttered mind, maybe more so. But be careful of those old gasoline and oil rags, you may end up with spontaneous combustion, I mean remission.

In truth, you sound like a rather closed-minded "tearer-downer" (r), rather than a "builder-upper (r)." I'll admit you writings are moderately entertaining, in a sort of perverse way. So keep up the mediocre work.


Yep, it's the jokes that make them pop a cork every time. Some people just can't stand the jokes.

Oh well, better luck in the next lifetime....

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Gandalf said, "The little orks don't like
**  humor. They cringe in pain at the sound of
**  laughter. And they really can't stand it when
**  you poke fun at them. So they howl and growl
**  and scowl and get all bent out of shape."

Date: Sat, October 28, 2006     (answered 23 April 2007)
From: "John L."
Subject: RE: 12 step programs


I probably should just let it go, but you really don't get the willpower thing, do you?

I understand it perfectly. I simply reject the Alcoholics Anonymous dogma.

Addicts have no will power ON THEIR OWN, that's the whole point. That's what addiction is. I know this to be true. I have no will power. And EVERY recovering addict I know has no will power (of course, it goes without saying that every active addict out there certainly is not demonstrating that they have any will power, are they?


I was NEVER going to stop using by virtue my own "will power." You are dead wrong about that. I didn't "decide to quit my unhealthy habits." I didn't "decide" anything of the kind. Left to my own devices, I would have kept using. And you are doing a great disservice when you try and pass that "will power" baloney off as some kind of truth. Yes, some people have lots of will power — they're not addicts.

And so what magic do you imagine made you quit drinking and doping?
Was it confessing your sins to your sponsor?
Was it declaring yourself to be insane?
Was it begging "Higher Power" to remove your "defects of character"?
Just what is the essential thing that A.A. supplies?

You haven't even declared that doing the Twelve Steps saved you and made you quit drinking. Or are you going to declare that the 12 Steps are superfluous, just "suggestions" that you don't need to follow? Maybe just attending A.A. meetings is what you think the magical cure is?

I didn't need Bill Wilson or anybody else to tell me that I am an addict — that is I fall into addictive behaviors compulsively and obsessively. I know this deep down in my heart, and I knew this long before I stopped using. Now maybe I didn't want to believe it, but that doesn't mean it wasn't true. I have no will power over certain things. That's what being an addict is. If someone stops on their "own will power" — well guess what — they weren't really an addict now were they? No they weren't.

There you used two propaganda tricks: The Real Scotsman Fallacy and Monopolizing the Question (Hypophora).

Of course a person can be a real addict and then quit his addiction. People do it every day. I am just one of many. In fact, there are so many of us do-it-yourselfers that only Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous claim that real addicts can't quit on their own.

Doctors know about it, and they write about it. The Harvard Medical School says that more than half of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking, but only about ten percent of them ever get "treatment". Harvard says that 80% of the successful quitters do it alone, on their own, without any "support group", and they do just fine, thank you.

Maybe they were a problem drinker or a binger, etc., but a true addict doesn't just suddenly stop being addicted to drugs and alcohol. It is certainly not that easy. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

You aren't breaking anything to me. I've heard hundreds of Steppers parrotting the same cult dogma. And it is still untrue.

And don't tell me about evidence. You show me some evidence that your theories are valid. There isn't any, no more than I have — it's all anecdotal, based on my own experience and the experience of many other recovering addicts. See, I don't need someone to "prove" something to me, when I believe it works for me. There is no "right" and "wrong" — so what. It's the results that count. I don't give a rat's ass about "cause and effect." That's for philosophers like yourself, apparently.

Evidence? I've got lots of evidence. Real evidence from real medical doctors who found that many other things were much better than Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, even NOTHING, no help at all, was usually better than Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and
  2. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness, and
  3. Dr. Walsh found that "free A.A." made later hospitalization more expensive, and
  4. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that having a doctor talk to the patient for just one hour was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.
  5. Dr. George E. Vaillant, the A.A. Trustee, found that A.A. treatment was completely ineffective, and raised the death rate in alcoholics. No other way of treating alcoholics produced such a high death rate.

And don't tell me about "quacks and faith healers" "taking in over $6 billion per year for "treating" alcoholism and drug addiction with cult religion. That is felony fraud, and sucks real money out of the health care system." What would make me believe that you are any less of a quack than anyone else who has a theory about how to deal with addiction? Nothing that I've heard so far. One man's quack is another man's DEPAK CHOPRA (did I spell that right?)

How can I be a quack when I'm not selling a cure?

And please, statistics are useless in this area. They prove nothing except that stats are for people that want to set themselves up to fail. "Gee whiz, only 5% of the people that avail themselves of 12-step recovery recover. I'll never be able to be one of those 5%, I may as well not bother. I'll just rely on my good ol' will power that has served me so well thus far in my life."

I don't think that sounds right.

Actually, statistics prove a great deal. They prove A.A. to be a failure.

And of course you believe in statistics. You just want to ignore the numbers that you don't like.

But I am forever getting letters from Steppers who claim that A.A. has saved 2 million alcoholics. That's statistics.

And these are statistics too:

"Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement."
William G. Wilson, in "The Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, in the 1955 Foreword to the Second Edition, page XX.

(That funny little phrase that is highlighted in red makes it a case of lying with qualifiers, of course.)

Speaking of which, if you think A.A. actually works, then please answer this question:

"What is the actual A.A. success rate?
Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A.,
  1. How many of them finally pick up a one-year coin?
  2. A five-year coin?
  3. A ten-year coin?
  4. A fifteen-year coin?
  5. A twenty-year coin?"

(HINT: the answers are here.

But thanks for listening.

John L.

Okay, John,

I have listened, and answered.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Laughter is the best medicine,
**     and it's cheaper."
**        == Victor Borge

Date: Tue, April 24, 2007 6:22 am
From: "John L."
Subject: RE: your answer to my letter


I am always amazed at how people like you hide behind bogus names. Why would you tear down something that helps people? 12 step recovery has helped people. I don't care how many — and neither should you. Even if it helps one person, that's a good thing. But it's not a cult, and you're right it doesn't work for everybody. Just like all medications don't work the same for everybody. Isn't there room for various approaches to recovery from addiction? Of course there is. You probably believed the Da Vinci Code was true, I'll bet.

A.A. does not help people. A.A. kills more people than it helps. And I do care about "how many".

And yes, A.A. is a cult, and you are proving that right now. To claim that you don't care about the true facts like how many people A.A. actually helps or hurts is itself evidence of cultish behavior.

Lastly, you complain about my pen name? Isn't Alcoholics Anonymous supposed to encourage anonymity?

Tradition 11 [Long Form]
Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not to be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed.

So are all of the A.A. members "hiding behind bogus names"?

But please don't answer. If you'd like, I'll just admit that you're right — I give up, you're the Great Debunker. Happy? Now please crawl back into your destructive little hole.

Have a day,


You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Although easily mistaken for candy, holly is quite poisonous."
**     "Although easily mistaken for real moral religions,
**          cults are quite poisonous."

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Last updated 13 January 2014.
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