Letters, We Get Mail, LXXVI

Date: Tue, October 3, 2006 3:59 pm
From: "ARID Site"
Subject: RRSN's Disbanding

In regards as to why Jack Trimpey disbanded the R.R. groups:

About Rational Recovery — I agree that we should avoid anything that will turn into another cult. In defense of Jack Trimpey and R.R., I've heard that is why he shut it down. That is, the people who wanted to quit drinking did, and left the meetings; while the chronic meeting attenders remained, until R.R. was just filling up with people who wanted to have another life-long club. So Trimpey disbanded it.

Now that's just a rumor, and I haven't gotten anything from Trimpey explaining it one way or the other. But it makes sense. There is no doubt that R.R. is disbanded and shut down.

Actually, it's not a rumor. It's a confirmed fact. In fact I was thinking about the futility of groupism and realized that over time all of the people who haven't solved their problems would remain.

It was nearly a decade or so when Jack Trimpey realized that. Now picture groups going on for a bunch of decades. No wonder A.A. is a sick organization!

The entire reason for R.R.S.N.'s disbanding is detailed in The Journal of Rational Recovery (March-April, 1999). And, oddly enough, I happen to have a copy at my workstation. Likewise, the gist of the ineffectiveness of recovery groups can be found within the Web Archive:


On a sidenote about groups, since I'm a participant within the open source movement I found an interesting article on the drawbacks on groupism. It's definitely worth a read:


My advice for those who wish to hang out with addicts: Don't. One is better off cultivating healthier relationships with people with common interests rather than common problems.

That is, unless one wishes to infiltrate A.A. groups and digitally record the verbal carnage... ;->


Oh, and change the link for my website on your links page. I've been giving out my dot-org address instead of my Tripod link (I'm also moving to a new server in a few months and the domain name has been working for some time).

Be well and live well one LIFETIME at a time, Big O. :-)

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

Hi dr.bomb,

Thanks for the message. It's encouraging to hear that I'm getting my rumors from reliable sources. :-)

And thanks for all of those links. Now we all have to do our homework, again...

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time
**  when the quo has lost its status." — LJ Peter

Date: Wed, October 4, 2006 11:55 am
From: "paul m."
Subject: knowledge is power


thanks for all your work. your patience with the hate mailers is inspirational.

god told me to tell you to keep at it.


Hello Paul,

Thanks for the compliment, and the laugh.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
"I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and
send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions
about what needs to be done."  ==  author unknown

Date: Wed, October 4, 2006 1:55 pm
From: "Robert S F."
Subject: The funny spirituality of Bill Wilson

I see that you have quite a lengthy piece on Bill Wilson and AA. As A friend sent it, I am not sure if it from the web or a print journal.

Does not matter.

I se you are just not a fan of AA and are one who trashes it and everything about it that you can. Good for you!

As of this day, I believe we still have the Constitution in this country (US of A) and the First Amendment still is in place. All I can say is, please don't go to Alcoholics Anonymous. I am sure it would not be able to help someone as intelligent as yourself. It probably has not helped many people at all.

In fact, I think that it actually went out of business for lack attendance. Of those few who are crazy enough to still be going, your article should indeed dissuade them from continuing their membership.

Good job and keep up the good work. (And you may want to get your meds adjusted wqhile you're at it.)


Hello Bob,

Thank you for a text-book example of the standard propaganda and debating trick of "Sarcasm and Condescension".

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Gandalf said, "The demons of the darkness howl in
**  pain when you shine the light of truth on them."

[2nd letter from Robert:]

Date: Wed, November 1, 2006 7:18 am
From: "Robert S F."
Subject: RE: The funny spirituality of Bill Wilson

Oh, Did I use sarcasm and condescension? Just another way of saying, fuck yourself. Is that more direct?

Ah yes, once again we see the true "spirituality" of Alcoholics Anonymous. The "serenity and gratitude" is also notable.

And I suppose, if other people really "work the Steps" real hard for 10 years, they will also get the same "spirituality" as Robert has.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If I say something like, "You know, penicillin isn't really very good
**  for treating staphylococcus infections, and it is totally useless against
**  things like MRSA staphylococcus and anthrax", people respond in a
**  sensible manner like, "Yes, you are right. If somebody has infections
**  like that, they are better treated with Keflex or dicloxacyllin or
**  streptomycin — anything but penicillin."
**  But if I say, "You know, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't really very good
**  for treating alcoholism," the A.A. true believers scream "You are
**  heartless and immoral! You don't care how many alcoholics you kill!
**  You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety!"
**  That alone is proof that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult religion,
**  not a cure for alcoholism.

Date: Wed, October 4, 2006 2:35 pm
From: "Krystal P."
Subject: Comments on your web page: What's Not Good About A.A.

You are free to have your opinion of AA; most of which I strongly disagree.

However, regardless of all your research etc. it is just your opinion. While you have quite alot of facts, does not make what you write the "truth"; again just your opinion.

Hello Krystal,

That is the standard propaganda and debating trick called "Escape Via Relativism", as in "Well, it's just your opinion versus my opinion, and one opinion is just as good as another."

No it isn't. Facts are what matter, not opinions.
What facts do you have to show that A.A. is good, and actually saves more alcoholics than it kills?

Please consider prefacing what you write that it is your opinion. As with most things there is usually more than just one solution to a problem.

Krystal P.

Okay, Krystal, I've considered it, and the answer is "No."

It isn't just my opinion; it is facts from quite a number of people who know what they are talking about.

And Alcoholics Anonymous is not a solution to a problem, not any more than alcohol is.

Have a good day.

== 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: Wed, October 4, 2006 9:28 pm
From: A.A.
Subject: aa athiest

In 27 sober years in aa I have known many "thieves.wife beaters,bank robbers ,murderers,sociopaths and other really scarry people'' BUT WE HAVE A" 3RD TRADITION" that says ''the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.....That allows me(a life long athiest)to be a perfect member of Alcoholics Anonymous...Whatever my AA brothers and sisters do to stay off the BOOZE is fine with me..

I haven't prayed,read the BIG BOOK,or payed much attention to the ''self righteous'' in over 20 years and I love AA..

Anonymous Athiest

P>S> I tell everyone refered by the court system that they can have their BARTENDER sign the paperwork

Hi A.A.,

Thanks for the message. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** From Scientology we learn that, "The evil Galactic
** Overlord Xenu did it. It's all his fault."

Date: Thu, October 5, 2006 12:50 pm
From: "Cliff Y."
Subject: Re: "Why All The Anger?"


Was reading some more of your old letters some praising your extensive work with others ranging from maybe serious questions to plain old hate mail. I can begin to understand your "anger."

Unfortunately,even with sobriety,I can be a very angry person...and have quite a lot to be angry about...even though I wish it wasn't that way.

If I undertand what I've read:

  • 1.)You say you were abused (perhaps both physically and emotionally?) as a kid by an abusive and alcoholic father. Was I corect in reading that?


  • 2.) You feel like you were,in my words,messed around, in going to AA meetings and by feeling they were trying to control you.

    That isn't clear. "Messed around?" Just read the introduction.

    And of course they — the "treatment center" — were trying to control us. That was their stated goal — to get the clients "in compliance" with the program.

  • 3.)You feel that others,including your friends have either been forced to go to AA or had something bad foisted upon them.


Despite my differing perceptions of my own experience comapred to yours; by reading your website extensively I can now see your points, Orange. It indeed takes a LOT of difference to make this world go around: I like the part where you answer by saying you do find happiness in going to the beach, etc.... Power to it!

I admit I have long been suspicious about people being forced to go to AA by the courts,etc. I am also interested in recovery rates of Rational Recovery, etc. and saw your comments about the recovery rates for Smart.... Keep up your good work... If people would really read like I now have; they would find, even in possibly disagreeing, that you provide a most valuable forum: Whether some believe it or not; the Orange Papers may well be helping to save many lives.... Power to you,Orange!

Cliff Y.
Social Services Analyst 2

Thanks for the compliment.

Have a good day too.

== Orange

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

[2nd letter from Cliff:]

Date: Mon, October 30, 2006 6:57 am
From: "Cliff Y."
Subject: Re: "Why All The Anger?"

Hey,Orange! Hope you are indeed having a GOOD day... It is BEAUTIFUL here in Baton Rouge LA this morning and about 60 with a high about 75. Hope it's beautiful where you are even though no quite sure where.

I liked your reply...."Messed over" was used to mean like you got or felt like you got deceived, made fun of, taken advantage of, controlled.... etc. I agree if you felt like that at AA.... I would be angry too. You went and needed support getting sober and feel like you got something else.... you did NOT want. I must admit I was very fortunate here when I started going to AA 25 years ago and got the support I needed and a sponsor who was neighbor. He and his wife were like grandparents to me as they were in their 80s. Mr. Pat was indeed an old-timer but did not try to cram anything down my throat or pull any bait and switch, etc. I can see your point and, unfortunately,believe the horror stories about AA and treatment centers,etc... especially since I have not been in other parts of the country except once in Boston.

Like you,Orange,I believe in God. So that part is not hard for me. EVERYBODY should have an opportunity to get and stay sober! That is why I have come to support you as a valuable forum and resource for the alternatives out there as well as the encouragement you give. See you are a Veteran too... just like my Dad.

Many Blessings to You,Orange!

Social Services Analyst 2

Hello again, Cliff.

Thanks for the compliments.

It wasn't so important that I got "screwed over" and fed a sham and a hoax by the "recovery industry". I survived it and came out on top, in spite of them. I'm doing better than just about anybody else that I know of, in all of the "recovery community". I feel very lucky.

It's the other people, the ones who got fed a load of bull when their lives were on the line, who got no help, like this one, that really bother me. I was lucky. They weren't.

Doing that to people is really the unforgiveable crime.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
**  You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful
**  to take the bait."
**  Bill Wilson describing early recruiting efforts for Alcoholics Anonymous,
**  at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

Date: Sat, October 7, 2006 5:12 pm
From: "David A"
Subject: Blown away by your website!


I'm absolutely blown away by your website orange-papers.info; it makes for a very interesting read.

I hope you don't mind me writing to you like this but I have been pondering an idea that may at some point become a reality and am interested in your views.

As a volunteer Samaritan in the UK I frequently speak with suicidal people many of whom are alcoholics. I am also a regular attendee of Alcoholics Anonymous and have been clean and sober for a number of years.

I've gotten it into my head that what chronic alcoholics really need are local support groups that don't mess with their minds. It is a fact that people without community become depressed and commit suicide at a higher rate and for that reason believe that a sense of belonging (to a community) is in fact the real underlying healer within AA. — Samaritans are trained to go about things in a different way, we do not give advice or make promises; we instead just listen to people who are in despair usually by phone and sometimes face to face and stick to talking about how feelings. Samaritans has a logical training program, AA has none. AA offers a sense of belonging, something Samaritans cannot do. I came to believe that a good solution for many alcoholics could be created by pooling the logical aspects of both.

>From what I have read I do not believe you think AA to be a complete waste of time. With that in mind I would like to say that what seems to be missing from your website is an article about what you do think works within AA and for one would be particularly interested.

It only takes two people for a community to exist. I think Bill Wilson hit the nail on the head when he talked about realising that he could only stay away from a drink by talking to another alcoholic. He needed a community. — Perhaps it is not resentments that are the number one killer of alcoholics but isolation.


David A.

Hello David,

We have been talking about what works, and what helps, all through the letters. Look here for one list of such discussions.

Here is another letter that discusses recovery techniques.

Also see The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster for another slant on "addictive thinking", and how to recognize it and overcome it.

Also see the Top 10 reading list for more good things.

It may be that social groups are a help in preventing suicide, or encouraging people to quit harmful habits, but Alcoholics Anonymous has not provided any evidence of that. A.A. actually increases the rate of binge drinking, and raises the death rate of alcoholics.

We were just talking about the down side of recovery groups in another letter, here. The problem is that the healthier people recover and leave the group and get on with their lives, while the chronically ill who won't recover hang around for years and become the group's old-timers and mentors, and they teach their insanity to the newcomers.

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 your will power is
**  useless, is not getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Sat, October 7, 2006 7:59 pm
From: "Scott P."
Subject: AA

Orange —

First off, you are clearly quite intelligent and funny, and I admire your passion. You are trying to help people and are putting a lot of energy into it. Kudos.

Hello Scott,

Thanks for the compliments.

And, no, I haven't read everything on your site — its breadth and depth alone are impressive! So I might be repeating what someone else might have written to you before. But here goes...

One of the most important aspects of 12-step to me is the imperative that you take what you like and leave the rest. The literature itself says the steps are but suggestions. Don't like what one guy (or several people) keeps saying at meetings? Fine, don't listen, or pick another meeting. Don't believe in a written moral inventory? OK, skip step four — we won't, in fact CAN'T kick you out. Don't want to put a buck, or even a penny in the basket ever? No one (or at least no one who understands the 12 Traditions) will bat an eye. (And those that do? Leave them with the stuff you don't like.) Don't want a sponsor? Hell, don't want to even come to meetings? It's OK if you want to just study and work the steps in the privacy of your own home! No one can deny you membership — you're in if you say you're in.

The "Steps are but suggestions" and "take what you like" statements are simply not true. It's a bait-and-switch trick. Those easy-going statements are accompanied by other statements that people failed and died drunk because they didn't "thoroughly follow our path" and wouldn't "go to any length".

Well, A.A. can't have it both ways. Either you can work a very lose, define-it-yourself program, and it's okay; or you have to "really try" and "thoroughly follow our path", or else.

Which is it?


If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk.
A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 72-73.

I guess what I'm saying is, in some places it seems like what you're attacking here are certain people in or around AA rather than the steps themselves. Unlike Scientology, or some of the other cults you talk about, AA has no one making millions off of it. There's no profit motive. Hell, there's no profit, as AA barely stays afloat financially. Yes, all you say about judges and counselors is true, but they aren't actually affiliated with AA. And I'm sure that your response here will be to direct me to a section of your site where you illustrate how closely tied the counselling and courts are to AA, maybe even specific accounts. But again, these are specific people who do not represent AA as a whole. Take what you like and leave the rest.

No profit motive? You should look again. Check out this letter. A.A. is making millions, and is doing it by committing perjury and fraud and even hurting innocent A.A. members, and getting them sentenced to prison on the basis of A.A. lies.

Maybe AA is the go-to guy for judges and counselors simply because it is free and prevalent. OK. But there's no one IN AA who is financially benefitting from the stream of people attending. There's no Falwell or Koresh. These judges and counselors don't get kickbacks or anything.

See the financial statement above.

And counselors don't need kickbacks. They are A.A. members who get paid by federal, state, and municipal programs and health insurance plans to proselytize and spread 12-Step propaganda. They are professional 12-Step recruiters. (And then they even occasionally double-bill to make more money.)

Still, I guess you might be upset more because sending folks to AA is just such a given in our society, and you view AA as a religion, and this means to you a comingling of church and state. (Actually, you can take out the "might be" there. I've read enough of the site to have figured that out!) But, again, if AA has no "musts" and all the steps are but suggestions, and you can work them or not work them any which way you want without fear of being "kicked out" — how is that a religion?

Or maybe I'm upset because people are getting fraud and quackery when their health insurance is paying for "treatment". Maybe I'm upset that the state of the art in treating addictions and alcoholism is a big lie.

And, as I can see, you have problems with the steps themselves, as your exhaustive interpretation of them shows. But, at the risk of sounding redundant, there are as many ways of interpreting those steps as there are people on this planet. If I want to define my higher power as Good Orderly Direction or Group Of Drunks or The Steps or The Process or a plant or a river or literally anything, I'm allowed.

That is nothing to brag about. You think that gross heresy and idolatry is a good thing? What kind of a wonderful cult religion is that?

And what does such idolatry have to do with quitting drinking?

Maybe I don't want to seek through prayer and mediatation. Maybe I want to seek through positive action in my community or improved relationships with loved ones. Oops, I just jumped over step eleven! Are the AA cult police going to come and get me now? No. It's my interpretation. I took what I liked and left the rest. The stories of AA folks who do things like this everyday are infinite in number. My advice to AAs who run into other AAs who command rather than suggest, who push their brand of faith rather than share their experience is — you guessed it — take what you like etc.

Again, if you do not "thoroughly follow our path" and won't "go to any length", then it's your own damn fault that you relapsed and died drunk.

Besides, which, if the program is so loose that you can do anything that you wish, then there isn't really any program.

What is the real, essential part of the program that you absolutely must do in order to succeed at quitting drinking and staying sober?
What is the real program?
(Besides "don't drink alcohol"... But that isn't a program. That's a commandment.)

And that's what I found most interesting about your site: the section on "What's Good About AA." You mention the rare instances for you of meeting people in meetings who really knew what they were talking about and were helpful. What happened to the ones you met? Are you still connected to them? Or even to just memories of things they said to you, things you shared with each other? Does it help you stay away from a drink today? Are those things you liked and kept, while you left the rest (which, in your case, would be almost all of it, but still)? If so, I'm sincerely glad for you. Or even if not, even if you took absolutely nothing away from AA, and you're still happier today than when you were drinking, I'm sincerely glad for you. It's your path, and whatever works is great.

You are really grasping at straws. I mentioned that I met a few nice people, and you want to claim that I am sober because of them?

No. That isn't how it is. You might as well try to claim that I am sober because of the cocaine-snorting, child-molesting, Internet-child-pornographer, dogmatic 12-Stepper "counselor" that I had in the "treatment" program.

And no, I am not still in contact with them, and no, they didn't teach me a bunch of good things. Most of them would be described as well-meaning confused people who prattled A.A. nonsense.

I guess what it boils down to for me is:

1) All people are flawed. Some greatly so. (One section I heartily agree with you on is what a way-way-less-than perfect person Bill W was. Way.) Some of them are counselors and judges. Some of them go to AA meetings, and some of these say and do messed up things. And I can see where it might be a good thing to expose the wrongdoers and their deeds. But they are NOT AA itself.

But seriously flawed people have no business passing themselves off as spiritual mentors and drug-and-alcohol rehab counselors. And that is what is happening in Alcoholics Anonymous, and that is inherently the nature of Alcoholics Anonymous.

2) AA itself is all based on 12 suggestions that can be interpreted an infinite number of ways, including the partial or entire ignoring of them. Same goes for all the literature, as well as the other tools. Keep an open mind about stuff, use what works for you, don't use what doesn't. You yourself seem to have done this. Why begrudge others who'd like to do the same?

Again, if the steps can be interpreted any way you wish, then there are no steps and there is no program.

What I "begrudge" is foisting ineffective quackery on sick people. That is wrong. It is legally wrong, and it is morally wrong.

Because in the end, there are so very many folks in AA who are doing what you're doing — trying to help people in a way that makes sense to them.

You are advocating letting the lunatics run the insane asylum.

Just "trying to help people" is not a good enough excuse for what Alcoholics Anonymous is actually doing.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

It may not be the way you or even I would try to help. But I think the action (like your search for the truth on this site) is inherently good.

That is baloney. Is the "action" of Scientology good?
How about the "action" of Rev. Jim Jones's People's Temple?
How about the "action" of Synanon?

Weren't all of those things "good", and "for the good" of addicts and alcoholics?

All three of those cults ran drug and alcohol rehab programs, you know. (Befuddled alcoholics and addicts are easy targets for cults.)

Am I wrong, or are you taking on AA as a whole when the problem is really people (and there are plenty of them) who wrongly present it or use it (i.e. religion-pushers, ego-trippers, predators and the like)?

You are wrong. The A.A. program itself is a fraud that was derived from an old fascist cult religion. It was never a method for recovery. It never worked. Bill Wilson just lied about the failure rate, and made grandiose claims of success when he had none. The A.A. program didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.

Food for thought.

Anyway, I do wish you well in your enjoyment of life. And if this cause energizes and motivates you, well keep on truckin'. Maybe what you're doing, at the very least, helps people sort things out and find their own paths to recovery and strength. Kinda like AA, if I dare say.

Take care,

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*** "Early AA got its ideas of self-examination,
*** acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for
*** harm done, and working with others straight from the
*** Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their
*** former leader in America, and nowhere else."
*** == Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of
*** Age, page 39.

Date: Mon, October 9, 2006 4:06 am
From: "Mr. Blair P."
Subject: more info


Thanks for the eye-opener.

Blair P.
A.A. member

Hello Blair,

You're welcome.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** When you can't tell the difference between patriotically
** defending America, and killing thousands of children in
** a foreign country, you are officially crazy.

Date: Mon, October 9, 2006 7:51 am
From: "Steve B."
Subject: RE: Answer to your letter

Thanks for the personal response. I was wondering if I'd hear from you. The "Lizard Brain Addiction Monster" is spot on. That little addictive voice has been my downfall. I know where it's coming from now (damn my base brain). Now that I've been sober for 5 months, he talks to me once in awhile. I recognize the little bastard.

I've been reading Stanton Peele's "Love and Addiction" and it's pretty interesting.

Unfortunately for me, I've screwed up enough in the past that I'm going to have to go through the motions in AA for at least another 7 months to keep my wife happy. It's like being on probation even thought I've never been arrested for anything. The thing that really amazes me about AA is that the group actually worships alcohol like it's some kind of powerful entity. It's not.

Hi again, Steve,

Yes, right on. If you think about it for a while, the idea that a bottle of C2H5OH being more powerful than you are is absurd.

Heck, I have so much power over it that I can even light it on fire and burn it and use it to heat up a cup of coffee.

I have another alternative to AA for you: racingforrecovery.com. Todd Crandell was an addict for years and used AA to finally get himself sober. Now he's moved away from AA and has a program that doesn't follow the 12 steps. I met him recently and was impressed with what he had to say. He doesn't believe in powerlessness and neither do I. He doesn't believe in relapse. He believes in "rechoice".

I like your website a lot. There's so much information on the splash page that it's kind of overwhelming.

Keep on giving us the truth.

Take care.

steve b.

Thanks for all of the compliments, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Programming today is a race between software engineers
**  striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs,
**  and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better
**  idiots.  So far, the Universe is winning.  == Rich Cook

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 3:02 am
From: "James B."
Subject: Yo Orange!

Hey there Orange

Thanks again and again for the website — it really 'joined the dots' up for me concerning AA — without it I am sure I would still be sitting in meetings, frowning at the floor, trying to figure out the 'not quite right' feeling in my stomach.

I want to start with a point I made to my GF — when I was drinking, I certainly, most absolutely had methods/ways of controlling the amount I drank; let me explain: if I had a huge binge, there is no way I would get drunk for the next two or three days — I would be feeling too ill, too depressed. I was also a big fan of coke and XTC and, again, I would space these out over time, so as to save feeling to ill, and the 'brain aches' that these substances would cause. And probably, indirectly, protecting my health. Looking back, without this kind of hap-hazard discipline — though I was most certainly an addict/alky — then I would probably be dead.

However, if I had carried the belief around that I was powerless, which I did not, as I had had no contact with AA, I wonder whether it would have thrown a spanner in the works. I reckon that if I believed I was powerless over the stuff then my binges would be closer together and even more dangerous. I wonder how many alkies and drug users are out there right now just saying 'what the hell, I am powerless, pass me the bong/pipe/beer'. Alcoholics are powerless. What a nasty, thoughtless, bit of information that is.

Hello again, James,

Yes, really. And some alcoholics die because they believe that they really are powerless, so why try to fight it? It's hopeless.

One of my values, that I try/struggle to live by is to try and live with people on an equal, respectful level be they sinner, saint, criminal, alky, priest, or genius, whoever. To realise that we all deserve respect and are full have worth for just being a living, feeling animals. I realise now, a year out of AA, how that really did not apply much in the rooms. Man, I felt like I was nothing to those old timers — they were all wise, more enlightened, more spiritual than I was. In fact, at times, I felt like nothing — just a diseased creep who had been selfish and an ego maniac from the day he was born.

Since leaving AA I have found it very difficult to regain some sort of love and tolerance for my fellow humans — I learnt about contempt for the darker side of human nature in AA. I learnt about sin. Look how bad we are, and look how good God is. I still sometimes see through that dark filter.

So its just a case now of me focusing on the good in human beings, because it is the good I will remember on my death bed — I think my memories of people when I am dying will hopefully be good ones, of all the good people have shown me over the years. I certainly won't be laying there 'handing it over', or 'seeing my part' in things, or thinking about selfishness, self seeking and all that shit.. I am only 25 and I am thinking about death!

But this is a philosophical journey that I am on now since leaving AA, and I have really had to sit down and think about some of the big questions, which has helped with the deprogramming because most of what I value in life is in direct contradiction to the ravings of Wilson. I realise now that AA was depriving me of my huge parts of my own mind, my ability to interpret my life in any way I damn pleased — it took that ability away from me.

Its so great to be free! I am still sober, clean, after leaving AA and the freedom feels overwhelming. I am, for the first time in my life, relatively sane as well, as well as physically fit. Each day is no longer full of fear, or frustration, or wildness — instead each day is full of hard work, clear thinking, and a simple but fulfilling code to treat others with respect, don't do anything stupid like drink thirty coffees, and now and then use 'reason' on my thoughts and motives. That's the only 'program' I do.

So there is an update from me, and I hope that the positive tone of the letter might give someone out there that if they are suffering in AA that life can be good without booze and without AA.

Thanks again Orange!


Thanks again, James, and congratulations on your recovery.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If you persist in making criminals out of
** alcoholics and addicts, you will find that
** you have lots and lots of criminals. — Orange

[The following 4 letters came in together, in quick succession.]

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 7:21 am
From: "MARY C."
Subject: How do they have fun?

Want to know the MAIN REASON drinkers don't quit??? How the hell would they have fun???? I am a once or twice a week beer drinker and wouldn't give it up if hell froze over. I tried pot once, didn't go back to it, and don't mess with drugs. If you can get your ass up in the morning to go to work, you are okay. If you marry or go out with another drinker, nobody will bother you! I still smoke, too, and wouldn't give that up either. Once people quit drinking, they will never have fun again and they know it. People act as if drinkers WANT to quit. What they have to learn to do is to DELAY their drinking so they complete the work week and AVOID people in their personal lives who don't want them to drink. HAH!

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 7:31 am
From: "MARY C."
Subject: Fw: How do they have fun?

P.S. The problem, of course, is this: some drinkers become violent. My late husband was like that and so is my niece's husband. I've often suggested that she develop a "shed" situation where he drinks outside of the home with buddies and stays with them or sleeps in the shed until the following morning. I have known plenty of people who were court-mandated into treatment. They KNOW that alcohol only remains in the system for 24 hours so they go to the program all week and drink Friday night and part of Saturday so they will pass the pee-test on Monday. Once probation is off their backs, they go out and celebrate. We are becoming too intrusive in people's lives. If someone isn't a danger to others when he or she drinks, then leave him or her alone!

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 8:09 am
From: "MARY C."
Subject: Fw: How do they have fun?

P.S.S. PLUS I think the tough-love thing DAMAGES many people, particularly women who have been abused or victimized physically or sexually. They are drinking or drugging to FORGET, to numb the pain for a while. Mixing drinkers and druggers doesn't work, either. Pure drinkers are not as sneaky as druggers. They are more honest. Most drinkers will not steal from loved ones to buy drink or prostitute or steal to get it. When they are placed in a "tough love" environment with druggers and are shown these scenarios, they say, Hey, wait a minute, that's not me. I don't do those things. I can buy the suitcase of the week at the beer house for ten bucks. My habit won't escalate to thousands of dollars. I also strongly think people are CROSS-ADDICTIVE. Take away their alcohol and they'll smoke and eat more, etc. The addiction will go somewhere else where nobody has identified it to chase it yet. Society needs to leave people the hell alone. The solution to drunk driving (my only bad outcome after being battered for many years and my husband dying suddenly) is NOT TO DRIVE DRUNK. You plan how you will get home after you go to the bar or plan to stay overnight with friends. You don't take the car. I didn't give up drinking. I gave up driving! I am a strong-minded individual whose first reaction to any mandate is to defy it for pure spite. I could tell you many funny stories. My late husband had a friend, Crazy Billy, who would sit in the back of AA meetings with a tall can in a bag. Then he went up with a straight face to get his chits signed for probation. 30 years later, he still drinks and looks rather healthy and okay. I knew a very tiny girl who kicked a cop in the leg who took away her can of beer in a public place and she kicked him in the leg. She was placed in a program and complained to me on the bus all the time. Although she weighed about 90 pounds, she calculated how long she could drink from Friday release time until Saturday noon and still pass the pee test. I remember getting OFF the bus as she was about to board the bus, sipping from a bagged can by the beer house. "I just graduated from my drinking program and I'm celebrating," she confided. SHE still drinks, ten years later, and works two jobs. My niece and her husband BOTH drink. He's usually the fall guy, ending up in jail, although she physically starts as many fights as he does. I am usually the bouncer, breaking the fights up and preventing the cops from being called. I can remember one family birthday when the ten-year-old lookout spying out the front window spotted the ubiquitous white car: IT'S THE WELFARE. We all scrambled for the bathroom, cans in hand. As eight of us cowered in the john, this smart ten-year-old nonchalantly slow-walked the empty Coors 30-pack cardboard carton to the bathroom door and heaved it in. HEY, WE ALL STILL DRINK! Guarantee ya that we're all part of someone's optimistic social program statistics that we quit, too, just as your study suggests. As we would say in the poverty community about the non-drinking mind-controllers trying to force their abstinence on us all: FUCK THEM. Pardon my French.

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 8:18 am
From: "MARY C."
Subject: Fw: How do they have fun?

Plus, the REASON I got the DWI's after my husband died was that HE ALWAYS DROVE and apparently had better luck evading the cops on the way home from the bar than I did. SOLUTION: leave the car home. Take the bus to the pub and have the barkeep hold cab money for you. If you are not violent, then you won't get in trouble.

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the letters. That looks like a really good example of functional alcoholic. Good luck, and have a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *

**  I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case
**  I see a snake — which I also keep handy.
**         ==    W. C. Fields (1880 — 1946)

**  Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot
**  the corkscrew and for several days we had to live
**  on nothing but food and water.
**         ==    W. C. Fields (1880 — 1946)

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 9:10 am
From: "Adele D."
Subject: interesting

Hi there AO

Very much enjoying your site and the wealth of information. It's very helpful that you include references. As someone who's been in Al Anon and felt highly uncomfortable about a lot of the dogma — not least our 'special relationship' with AA — it's refreshing indeed to see that I'm not the only one with doubts.

I've seen long timers in AA/Al Anon and feel pleased that for whatever reason they've found help. It didn't really work for me. Lots of passive aggressive stuff 'shared' and also supposed confidences from AA meetings being 'shared' in Al Anon.

Highly interested in the 'thirteenth step' as I had often suspected that 'i'm off to a meeting' was a euphemism for hanky panky.

Keep up the good work, mate. You've beat me to what was going to be my PhD work but since you've done it so well how can I complain!


Adele D., England

Hi Adele,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I ruined what was going to be your PhD thesis? Quick! There's still time. I haven't submitted mine yet.... :-)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
**    == Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 — 1969), Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 2:48 pm
From: "Michael M."
Subject: Book of James/ The Mighty Tongue


Date: Mon, July 24, 2006 1:24 pm
From: "Darrick H."
Subject: interesting

AA concepts did come from the Chapter of James in the Bible. Everyone has Truths, I know what my Truths are, I'm sure you know yours as well. But not everything is the Gospel either...

interesting perspective you have.

Michael M

It is my impression that prior to formal organization in the early days, from the book about Dr. Bob, the religiously fanatical control freak participated in ad hoc meetings that gave credence to James 3 verse 3-6: focusing specifically on verse 4:

  • 3. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
  • 4. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
  • 5. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
  • 6. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

I used to meditate on this chapter frequently between meetings. Taken out of context you can see that it can be misused as a rather powerful passage. Now that I have broken free from the chains of 15 years of AA bondage, I find that at work I am able to articulate thoughts more clearly (particularly personal ones) and people don't look at me like an idiot. The benefits of non-membership outweigh membership 200 to 1. I have to learn to outlive the fear that, in the long run, not going to a meeting is going to ultimately ruin my life. All it is is a fear, and not a valid one.

Sidebar: Orange, I think, has a unique gift/talent. I wonder if he had experienced a 'Rites of passage' ordeal and shagged Grace Slick during one of his historical escapades throughout the 60's?/ please, ...pardon my behavior.

Hi again, Michael,

Thanks for the letter, and the theology. — And the laugh. Alas, no, never met Grace. 'Tis a pity.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Life is change; How it differs from the rocks..."
**    == Grace Slick, singing in "Crown of Creation"

Date: Tue, October 10, 2006 4:56 pm
From: "michael r."
Subject: do THIS simple program

Hey Orange,

"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not give themselves completely to this simple program....."

This is saying "Just do every thing I tell you and you will stay sober".

If people follow my one step program COMPLETELY I can GUARANTEE they will stay sober.

  • Step 1. Do not drink anything that contains alcohol.

"NEVER have I seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed my path."

If only people would do what I say the world would be perfect. Just call me Bill... or Frank.


Hi again, Mike,

Thanks for the laugh. And what a coincidence! That also just happens to be my one-step program, too! And it works!

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe,
**   and it has a longer shelf life."    ==  Frank Zappa

Date: Wed, October 11, 2006 10:39 am
From: "Jay B."
Subject: new letter

Dear Orange

I couldn't see a way of posting on your site so am emailing this to you, (if you print this then you can delete this bit)

Today is my 2nd AA birthday.

I am 41 and have abused alcohol since the age of 15, I had never seen a doctor to discuss problems or even admitted that I have drinking problem.

3 years ago I was in an unhappy marriage, had lost a job I held for 10 yrs and was completely on my knees.

I drove drunk to bridge and decided to finish the last 4 cans and jump but didn't have the bottle so decided to join AA.

Since then I have stopped drinking, left my wife, stopped contact with much of my "insane" family, and am self (un) employed .i.e provide IT services for companies but have no clients.

BUT still not drinking ! remembering its my first priority.

My head is in turmoil most days and the only way of feeling OK is to go to nightly meetings.

That was until recently , I took all of AA on board because I was close to suicide and I truly believe that they saved my life.

What I started to doubt was the rest of it

I could see people in the rooms who needed medical help but instead just came to live a groundhog day every night.

I could see people on benefits talking about working but doing nothing to get work and running to the arms of the AA rooms to feel better every night

I could see sexual predators making vulnerable women more vulnerable

On a personal level I started to question my own sickness.

I haven't wanted a drink since this time 2 yrs ago, I had not done any steps at that point but still thanked the program for my stopping

I have ADHD (diagnosed by a shrink 2 yrs ago but have not told any members or my sponsor)

I now realise that I have been controlled my whole life by low self esteem

I also now know that I have had periods of depression throughout my adult life

I also know that I have suffered from anxiety for much of my life

I have read pretty much all of this site in the last 2 days (done little else) and am in total confusion!

I agree with most of what you say, I no longer believe I have a spiritual problem, or that alcoholism is a disease, or that AA is the only way.

I am starting to believe that some people I know are actually being harmed.

I think I need to learn more about behavioral therapies for my ADHD, some CBT for my low self esteem, some re-exposure to life beyond the rooms, etc

my problem is what do i do tonight when my friends will celebrate my second year, do I tell them what I have written above or just slowly walk away and hope they come to their senses, i dunno ( maybe need to hand this over :) )

Thank you for your site , you have put into words what I have been thinking.

Please post this ( correct my spelin m1stakes if you can )

I'm off to the rooms.

Jay (B.)
please remove my surname if you do feel this is worth posting

Hello Jay,

Thanks for the letter. You make a lot of good points.

Congratulations on your new sobriety. That's great. It sounds like you are really making progress in working through your problems.

What to tell your friends? It depends on the friend.

The few real friends that we are lucky enough to have will understand — you can tell them the truth.

The acquaintances who merely grant you conditional approval will of course drop you quickly if you tell them truths that they don't want to hear. But you don't need them.

In the long run, you will need to work on developing a new circle of friends, especially "normal" people who are not "in recovery". Then you can talk about other things besides drugs and alcohol and tragedies.

It reminds me of a line that I wrote five ago:

I am still noticing what a joy it is to talk to an attractive young woman about drug or alcohol problems, and hear her respond, "Oh, I don't do that kind of stuff. I think it would just mess me up..." Then we are free to talk about other stuff, like art, music, computers, children, or whatever... Anything but more stories of misery. Anything but more stories of drug and alcohol problems.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Your friend is the man who knows all about you,
**   and still likes you."

Date: Wed, October 11, 2006 12:47 pm
From: Rusty
Subject: dr bob

Hey Orange,

down at the dog park I met a AA oldtimer who said Dr Bob was drunk in the last months of his life, do you have any info on this statement.

Recovered Rusty

Hi again Rusty,

Now that's an interesting question. I don't know. I never heard that one before. I would sure like to collect some facts on the subject.

We were just talking about Bill Wilson relapsing repeatedly. This correspondent said that Bill Wilson rarely got more than one year of sobriety before relapsing.

And I've been wondering for years whether the story in the Big Book about somebody (who looks just like Bill Wilson) getting drunk and throwing a screaming temper tantrum because his wife nagged him to quit smoking was really 100% autobiographical:

Here is a case in point: One of our friends is a heavy smoker and coffee drinker. There was no doubt he over-indulged. Seeing this, and meaning to be helpful, his wife commenced to admonish him about it. He admitted he was overdoing these things, but frankly said that he was not ready to stop. His wife is one of those persons who really feels there is something rather sinful about these commodities, so she nagged, and her intolerance finally threw him into a fit of anger. He got drunk.
Bill Wilson, the "Big Book", Alcoholics Anonymous, in the chapter "The Family Afterward", on page 135 (3rd and 4th editions).

Was that really Bill Wilson?

I'll keep my antenna up for any news about either Bill Wilson or Dr. Bob drinking.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "God, please save me from your followers!"
**          ==  Bumper Sticker

UPDATE: Here is a letter which seems to indicate that Dr. Bob was relapsing:

Date: Thu, October 12, 2006 2:59 pm
From: "John McC"
Subject: HR 1402-An "Addiction Treatment" Parity Bill
To: [email protected],[email protected],[email protected]

Hi Stanton, Orange, Jack,

Just wanted to let you know about this piece of legislation in the DYING session of Congress that Rep. Kennedy (yes-the alcoholic/addict one from R.I.) is trying to get somehow "petitioned" out of committee, and PASSED before the end of the current Congressional session. The bill appears to be trying to get "parity" for public funding for ADDICTION TREATMENT, and you know what a racket that is. You might want to put an "alert" about it on your web-sites, AND blast an e-mail off to your own Congressperson about the BS of publically funded addiction "treatment".

Just letting you know about this, "news you can use".

John McC., RAS

Hi John,

Thanks for the tip. I'll put this up immediately. This sounds like a variation of the previous bill, H.R.1258, the "Time for Recovery and Equal Access to Treatment in America (TREAT America) Act of 2005".

Those guys just won't ever quit. So neither can we. Okay, everybody, please blitz your Congressman and Senators. Remember that this is an election year, and we have 3 weeks during which to really tell our politicians that we don't want to pay for more quackery. Nor do we want the government financing cult religion.

Demand that treatment centers PROVE that their treatment works, or else they don't get paid for it. — That means, prove it with randomized longitudinal controlled studies.

We can use the same steps as in the web page for opposition to H.R.1258. Just substitute the number "1402" for "1258". Otherwise, the differences aren't worth mentioning. It's the same racket. It's the same tear-jerker routine of yammering about how "mental patients" must get "equal treatment" and "parity". What it really means is that the Stepper clinics want more money for 12-Step drug and alcohol treatment.

Please write to your representatives to oppose this bill — and really harp on the demand for testing of drug and alcohol treatments. That is what the Steppers cannot stand, because the 12-Step treatment is a total fraud that has never passed a valid test.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
**  routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
**  or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
**  between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
**  treatment for medical diseases.

**  If we persist in writing blank checks to treatment centers
**  without demanding results, then we will continue to get
**  failure disguised as success.

Date: Sun, October 29, 2006
From: "John McC"
Subject: Re: HR 1402-An "Addiction Treatment" Parity Bill

Hi Orange,

Since the current session of Congress dies on 01/03, and a new two year session starts on that date, the vigilance will have to be ESPECIALLY earnest after 01/03, as then the 12-Steppers will have a FULL TWO YEARS to re-introduce another pathetic 12-Step oriented bill! There is an excellent web-site to track bills in Congress at: "thomas.loc.gov". On that site, you can track a bill by bill number, author, status in the process (committee, house or senate floor, etc.). I agress that a LOT of "counter-stalking" needs to be done on these obscene pieces of pro-12-Step legislation. It can't get worse then it already is, but they sure as hell are trying to make it that way!


Yes. Apparently, you haven't seen this page: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-action.html

It gives instructions for how people can use the Thomas locator to get information on those bills.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."

Date: Tue, October 31, 2006 12:46 pm
From: "John McC"
Subject: Correspondence WITH "AA"

Hi Orange,

Just wondering, in the course of putting together all of the excellent material that makes up "orange-papers.info", how much "correspondence" you had with the AA "GSO", if any. I came across a nice healthy SCREAMING contradiction on AA's "New Group" format that points out that "no member should be required to CONFORM to any particular belief", yet that a group MUST CONFORM to the "12-Traditions". I sent the AA GSO a letter requesting clarification on this obvious contradiction. I am wondering what kind of response I will get if any.

See you in the e-mail,


P.S. I hope the negotiations with "See Sharp Press" work out! I would love to see your web-site's contents in book form!

Hi again, John,

I have had no correspondence with the A.A. headquarters. I always figured that it wasn't worth the bother — that they would either ignore me or lie to me.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

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Last updated 12 September 2012.
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