Letters, We Get Mail, LXXIX

Date: Thu, October 19, 2006 5:28 am     (Answered 18 Feb 2007)
From: "Gregory"
Subject: your personal experince?

Good day,

I put out a small newsletter dealing with AA and run across your writings on a regular basis.

I always wonder about your personal experience with AA. Do you drink? If so how much, and have you tried with success to stay sober for any length of time.

Thank you

Gregory P.

Hi Gregory,

Thanks for the letter and the question. Sorry to take so long to answer, but I've been very backlogged on answering email.

I do not drink any alcohol whatsoever. I am one of those people who just has to totally abstain from drinking, or else I'll drink myself to death. So I don't drink alcohol, not any whatsoever.

I have over six years off of alcohol now. I also have six years off of all drugs, including tobacco. I am so clean and pure that it is disgusting. Now espresso coffee is my big kick. I might eventually have to give that one up too, but so far it's okay.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  I used to be a creature of the night.
**  Now I'm a creature of the light.

Date: Tue, February 20, 2007 8:17 am
From: "Gregory P."
Subject: Re: Orange Papers


been awhile since i sent that.

sorry you lost your housing but glad you got new digs. doesn't sound like you quite have your life together from a quick read.

I don't really see any personal experience just a lot of rhetoric that could be found say, on tree huggers eat meat.

if i get time ill dig through it but its a hard read filled with opine

Hello again, Gregory,

It doesn't matter whether I have my life together. What is important is whether Alcoholics Anonymous has its sobriety program together. It doesn't.

I do not have a web site of opinions. I collect facts. They may not be facts that you like, but they are facts nevertheless, even facts from leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, like Dr. Prof. George E. Vaillant, the member of the Board of Trustees who found that A.A. was better at killing alcoholics than at sobering them up.

The propaganda and debating technique that you are trying to use there is called "Escape Via Relativism", as in "Well, it's just one guy's opinion versus another guy's opinion..."

Perhaps you should write a letter to Dr. George Vaillant at the A.A. headquarters and tell him that it is only his opinion that his A.A.-treated patients died.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Everybody is entitled to their own opinions,
**  but not their own facts.
**    ==  Senator Patrick Moynahan

Date: Sat, March 17, 2007 7:39 pm     (Answered 31 March 2007)
From: "James G."
Subject: Response to one of the letters on your site


Gregory P. wrote in a letter dated Tue, February 20, 2007, "sorry you lost your housing but glad you got new digs. doesn't sound like you quite have your life together from a quick read." I mean really — take a look around the rooms. AA judges the individual that does not use the program for any reason even for those occurrences that clearly are not within the individuals control, whether they believe in an HP (oops AA) or not. I wonder what Gregory might have to say to one of his sponsees if he had to find new digs. What a cheap shot.

I am sure you are used to people attempting to make all this personal and you make it clearer than I ever could that whether we have our lives intact or not does little to disprove the fact that AA does not work. The ad hominems are dull, wasted, and a tool to silence the doubter — they do little to ascertain anything, but they do prove one thing; people will be shamed for asking, questioning and stating the truth by certain members of this program, members I might add that claim to have a desire to help the alcoholic.

I hope you are well Orange and that you are settling into your new digs. I also want to thank you ONCE again for allowing me to question all this, including your conclusions, without silencing me or getting personal. You have taught me than the mere facts of this program; you have taught me the precise mode of learning; question, question and question.

You might not want to express an opinion but I would like to — I think you are helping more people than AA ever could and I commend you for your efforts and I for one know how hard it is to continue to do so when so many want to use your personal life as a flare to distract everyone from the facts they cannot answer. Did Gregory ever consider that through your struggles in finding a new home, you did not use or drink? I doubt it — but if you had been in the program he wouldn't have either — he'd have told you to be grateful. Go figure.

Hang in there my friend.

J a m e s G

Hi James,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I noticed what a cheap shot that was, the guy saying that he was so sorry that I "had to" find new housing. I let it slide because it wasn't really worth arguing about. It's almost funny how he managed to twist everything around, pulling off a complete reversal of reality (which is another common cult characteristic). I came into a windfall and was using it to move into much better housing, four times the size and much prettier and newer, and just nicer, and he felt so sorry for me. It's enough to make you laugh.

And yes, the avoidance of the issues is glaring. "Let's not talk about the actual A.A. success or failure rate, or the goofy A.A. theology; let's talk about Orange's housing situation...."

And yes, I am doing great, thank you. And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy.
**  If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
**     ==    Socrates (469 BC — 399 BC)

Date: Thu, March 15, 2007 3:18 pm     (Answered 2 April 2007)
From: "James G."
Subject: Re: HBO video
To: "Ken Ragge" <[email protected]>,"Orange" <[email protected]>

Ken and Orange,

I have added your link to my site — I am making a video that predicts what HBO is going to say in its series about Addiction that starts this evening. I was hoping you might link it on your site? Of course I could be wrong, and if I am then we all win, so no biggie. If I am right, I can show the predictable nature of this business.

I hope you are well.


J a m e s G

PS www.blamedenial.co.uk/links.html

Okay, James, you've got it.

== Orange

Date: Thu, October 19, 2006 7:31 am     (Answered 18 Feb 2007.)
From: "Peter H."
Subject: Hey.

Orange —

I've been an AA member for seven years, yet oddly enough I agree almost wholeheartedly with your assessment of the organization. AA as a whole is filled with some of the most sick, screwed up, sociopathic people I've come across, nobody seems to stay sober (or even stay), and I regret my first few years of whirlwind involvement when I bought into that whole scene and all but walked away from the rest of my life. AA's history, including Wilson's past, is indeed quite spotty. I don't believe any of those guys were to be worshipped as they somehow have now become.

Yet I say "almost wholeheartedly" because of two things. First, a lot of the "facts" about AA you use in your assessment are things that have not come from AA literature, but from meetings and the "society of AA". For instance the 90 meetings in 90 days creedo, the issue of medications and being/not being on them, those are things that were developed somewhere along the way by who-knows-who sitting in some meeting somewhere, on the other end of a game of telephone. I've always questioned the credibility of anything that's purported to be from AA that I couldn't find written anywhere. I wouldn't base my take on the preachings of AA on what Joe Schmoe from Arkansas says about it any more than I'd invest my life savings into a corporation based on financial projections from an illiterate mail room worker.

Secondly, after all but walking away from the society of AA at this point in my life, I still have to believe that spirituality in some degree is beneficial. My take on AA from my stint here is that no matter what the laundry list of fallible intricacies they have perpetuated over the course of their 70-plus year existence, the main point they were getting at was that a lot of character flaws, including compulsive drinking, could be overcome by pursing a death of self, a collapse of the ego. This seems to be a running theme in a lot of religious and spiritual bodies, from eastern factions to parts of Christianity (though the Christians refer to "the self" as "the flesh"). I can't argue that spirituality, no matter the direction from which it's pursued, can be all bad. There are many people across the planet pursuing the same goal for various reasons who have probably never heard of AA. For a parallel, I believe in the original principles on which this country was founded, despite the fact that many of the forefathers were slave-owning womanizers, and subsequent (and current) presidential administrations have succeeded in dragging this country through the mud in ways I could never imagine.

Regards and take care,

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the letter and the comments. Sorry to take so long to answer — I'm way behind in answering email.

First off, I quote many parts of the Alcoholics Anonymous whole, because that is what A.A. really is. Alcoholics Anonymous is what the members make it — all of the members, including institutions like the Hazelden Foundation, and propagandists like Mel B. and Ernest Kurtz, and the phony "experts" who fake scientific studies in order to try to make A.A. look good. The "real A.A." is not some perfect council-approved abstraction. The real A.A. is what really exists right here, right now, in the real world. The real A.A. is what people really get when they are sentenced to A.A. or sent to a treatment center. The real A.A. is also things like the "Mike Q. group" or "Midtown Group" in Washington DC, which we have just been talking about a bunch, where underage girls get raped by their sponsors. (See here.) For the girls who get raped, that's the genuine real A.A. experience, and they are just as raped, no matter whether it is council-approved or not.

About spirituality and collapse of ego: I am all for spirituality, and I know that it is not spiritual to lie to sick people about how well a certain treatment works. And yet, every A.A. meeting I have ever attended was begun by reading a list of Bill Wilson's lies from pages 58 through 60 of the Big Book — stuff that is blatantly, obviously, untrue. But nobody will cut the crap and start telling the truth.

And the Twelve Steps are not a program for collapsing ego. That was just one of Frank Buchman's lies, which Bill Wilson copied. The practices in the Twelve Steps are Frank Buchman's techniques for recruiting and indoctrinating cult members. See The Religious Roots of the Twelve Steps for much more on that.

Even the terminology "collapsing ego" is wrong. It implies that the ego must be made smaller or crushed or suppressed. That is what cults like the Oxford Groups do to people — try to suppress people's individuality, and their minds, and their independence. But that is not a valid spiritual practice. Really transcending ego often makes your ego much larger — like that you might experience yourself as a very large group of people, or as the air in a space, or as part of the lifestream, or as part of an eternal energy flow, or as part of the Universal Superconsciousness.

Remember that your ego is merely your concept of yourself — your idea of what you are. There is nothing wrong with having an ego. In fact, you must have an ego, or you cannot live in the material world.

Mind you, having an ego is not the same thing as egotism. Cults will tell you that they are the same, in order to put you down, but they aren't the same thing at all.

Now stepping outside of your old ego, and trying on a new ego — a new concept of what you are — is a fine experience, and can lead to growth. That is a very different thing than just flipping out and deciding that you have been selected as one of God's special messengers, like Bill Wilson did. That is just megalomania and paranoia — extreme egotism — insanity, not spirituality.

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: Thu, October 19, 2006 11:54 pm     (Answered 20 Feb 2007)
From: "Sandy"
Subject: Held Hostage

Agent Orange:

Read letter from Shannon H. I could empathize with her situation.

I have never had a DUI or lost a job or had family problems or had embarrassing moments.

I had a serious coworker issue at work and did not want to show up for work. Well, against better judgement I went. However, I showed up drunk. My place of employment had a "Last Chance" program for employees who have been with the company for many years. I signed up for the program.

The program I went to was an IOP CD (Intensive Out Patient, Chemical Dependency) program through Banner Hospital.

The counselor of the IOP is hard core AA. I have heard of AA, but did not know much about the program. I went along with whatever was said, beings how this is where I was put. This must mean I am getting what I need, right?

I had three 3 hour sessions a week for 8 weeks and was required to attend a minimum of 3 AA meetings a week (recommended 90 meetings in 90 days). I was being immersed in AA ideology. Even though I kept hearing how I was an alcoholic and would be in a "recovery process" mode for the rest of my life as I just might take another drink because I am powerless of alcohol, I just knew there had to be something in all this jargon to help me with my coping with coworkers problem.

I started drinking about 3 years ago when my kids left home. At IOP we had to do time lines showing our 1st drink ever taken to our last. My time line was pretty sparse, however the counselor stated that since I took my first drink at 5 years old at my dads poker party I have been an alcoholic since I was 5. I was given, I believe it was 6 different tests which will give you an indication if you are an alcoholic or not. The counselor finally had a test which said I was. All this did not seem right. Why was so much time and attention given to prove everyone in the IOP group was a hopeless alcoholic? Why were we told not to think for ourselves (our brain was an itty, bitty, shitty committee). Why did every answer to any question have to be referred to the Big Book or any one of Bill W's writings or doing the 12 steps or solved with an AA quote? Why, all of a sudden, I must go to AA meetings, do the 12 steps over and over again, socialize with only AA people in order to survive?

All I want to do is to learn some coping skills. Why was it I was severely chastised early on in the program when I mentioned I thought AA was a cult (I do have experience in this area as my youngest son was involved in one).

Thus my search. And in my search I discovered your web site. It was so refreshing to find people who were seeing AA for what I was seeing. I have graduated from the IOP program and am in a 6 month aftercare program with the same counselor. I asked him if I could substitute 1 of my 3 required AA meetings for next 6 months with 1 meeting of WFS (Women For Sobriety) and 1 meeting with CoDA (Codependancy Anonymous) — both recommended by my "Back-to-work" counselor. He said no. AA all the way. I feel trapped and wonder if I am going to make it through the next 6 months. For now, every AA meeting I attend & speak at; I will say I have not a problem in the world and will tell all the AAer's God is on my side and I need no other.

BTW: I mentioned to the counselor about a university accepting me for a Masters program. Counselor said, No. All this would be too much for me right now and I might relapse.

My life is not my own anymore. I want AA exposed. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for letting me vent ...... did feel good! :)


Hi Sandy,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for venting. As you have already figured out, lots of people end up trapped in your situation. It's the standard 12-Step cult recruiting routine. "Attraction, not promotion" like hell. It's really "Coercion, not attraction."

About what to do? Well obviously, first, take care of yourself and protect yourself. That means rolling with the punches until you are out of "the program". And then...

  1. The first answer I have is publicizing the truth, which is what I am doing with this web site.
    And you are doing it by writing your story and sending it here.
  2. Then there is writing letters to Senators and Congressmen, and informing them that the "recovery industry" that they are funding is crooked.
  3. And then I am wondering why people don't sue those treatment centers and counselors who force quackery and cult religion on sick people. That is clearly malpractice, and those fraudulent "treatment providers" deserve to get sued out of existence.

Good luck, hang in there, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Self-appointed do-gooders arrogantly imagine that they
** have some God-given right to tell others what they should
** or shouldn't think, and how they should or shouldn't live.

Date: Fri, October 20, 2006 6:23 am     (Answered 20 Feb 2007)
From: "kiki s."
Subject: another actor

just read this morning that actor haley joel osment has to go to a.a. meetings for his dui. again a court order.

again it infuriates me.

i just want to see an article on a newspaper, magazine, anything on how a.a. doesn't have to advertise itself, how others do it for them.

poor man, here comes the shaming — "you are selfish, self-centered, stinkin thinkin, lying cheating" crap.

unfortunately there aren't many options but no one should be forced to attend a.a.

oh well, have a good day! ks

Hi Kiki,

Thanks for the note. Yes, I also find it frustrating that A.A. is just constantly passed off as an answer to a problem. There are just so many Hollywood gossip programs that say or imply something like: "Just get the celebrities into a 12-Step treatment program, and then everything will be fine."


Oh well, have a good day anyway.

(Oh, and here is a perfect time to practice a SMART technique and say, "I would prefer it if those bozos wouldn't constantly promote A.A. as if it was a working cure for alcoholism, but if they continue to do it, I don't have to go crazy over it.")

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** At least two thirds of our miseries spring from
** human stupidity, human malice and those great
** motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity,
** idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on
** behalf of religious or political idols.
**  ==  Aldous Huxley

Date: Fri, October 20, 2006 5:10 pm     (Answered 20 Oct 2006)
From: "Tom P."
Subject: Re: Is your book published?

Can I buy a hard copy?

Tom P.

Hi. No, It is not printed. It's a "you print it". Although I wouldn't. I encourage people to burn CDs, because it will eat a ton of paper to print.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Fri, October 20, 2006 5:32 pm
From: "Tom P."
Subject: RE: Is your book published?


I really love your section on Deprogramming your own mind. Very well done. And very good tools. AA seems to have no tools.

I have tried to work with What is what we need to do vs. what we should avoid.

I did some research this week on the Catholic Virtues that cancel out the 7 Deadly sins. you may like the summary, I went to see a comedy about "Let Nuns be in Charge". She gave an analogy for the 7 Deadly sins. I asked where was the analogy for the 7 Virtues that will cancel out the deadly sins. Ok, I was raised Catholic during the Vatican 1 and V2 transition. But the logic is still there. What we focus on is our reality. I prefer to focus on what helps us vs. what we should avoid.

Good site. Freaked me out that someone took this much work on it.

Good web site. Good work.

Hi again, Tom,

Thanks for the compliments, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
**  Love tells me I am everything.
**  Between the two my life flows."
**    ==  Nisargadatta Maharaj

Date: Sat, October 21, 2006 9:02 pm     (Answered 20 Feb 2007)
From: "cranky barbie"
Subject: please let me rant

You don't know what a relief it is to find someone who will understand how irritated I am at the treatment center I went to. Not that they weren't sincere, they were, it's just that they had important part of people's life's in their decision making process, which was all about AA and this whack therapy called Trauma, HTTP://WNW.Cmdr.com/, which is basically laying on of hands, tapping, or even, just moving the eyeballs back and forth. Quack therapy at best. What it doesn't include is medicine that would help in reduction of cravings. You have to "get the program." Well it was pretty obvious that most of the people getting through the program just drank on the weekends and tapered off to pass the Monday urine/breath test.

I got out still needing a way to stay sober for a longer period of time. When I told my psychiatrist this, he became angry, ended treatment, refused to give me more medicine, and gave me the name of a treatment center that would cost $48,000 for 5 months. Needless to say, I don't have that amount of money. I confronted him about the lack of prescription, as people have killed themselves going cold turkey off Effexor, and he said well you will just have to go to the ER then, won't you. The sad thing about this Dr, is that he was the head of the local mental health institute and still is very active how the institution is run. As he doesn't believe in medication for cravings, the medicines are rarely prescribed across that mental health system, which includes a large in and outpatient D/A treatment center.

Luckily, my GP is a cool guy who knows lots of people and he gave me a good referral. My new Dr and I compared some research and we choose Topamax. It has been a gift from God. I want to become a street preacher and tell people about the glories of Topomax, letting alkies everywhere know that there may be help for them. I broke down and told someone at an AA meeting I went to the other night about it, as he looked so sad and desperate about his slips but when I told him, he looked like I told him to drink poison.

Not letting alcoholics even try meds to reduce cravings reminds me of when people didn't think women should be given pain medicine during childbirth as the bible says that childbirth should be painful, or not allowing contraception as the bible says we should be fruitful and multiply.

Thanks for letting me vent, it really helped.

Hello Barbie,

Thanks for venting. It really does help when people publicize the kind of quackery that is going on in the so-called "recovery industry".

The big question in my mind is, "Isn't there a good really vicious mad-dog blood-sucking lawyer out there who wants to make a few million with a class-action lawsuit?" This field is really ripe for such a lawsuit. Such blatant quackery and malpractice really should be exposed and punished.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, October 24, 2006 3:54 am     (Answered 1 March 2007.)
From: "Eric F."
Subject: Message Board

Hi Orange. Hope this finds you well. I just wanted to invite you to a message board I have recently joined. The address is http://www.rehabjunkie.org.

All points of view are welcomed and, unlike the stepper forums, there is no censorship of opposing viewpoints. There is plenty of debate and folks from all over the spectrum of opinion on the AA/anti-AA debate. James G. has posted a link to the forum on his site, and we would love to have you and your readers join us.

I've gotten my story completed on my blog, and am beginning a series of essays on each of the steps. Good feedback on the blog, so far.

Have a great week, Orange

Eric F.

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the note. Looks interesting. I'll have to get in there some time.

Later. Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
** stable world at peril.

Date: Wed, February 21, 2007 12:16 am     (Answered 4 March 2007.)
From: "Daphne F."
Subject: Religious Roots of AA

A. Orange,

I see you value one of AA's many principles, ANONYMITY. I like that one too. One of my faves.

The steps do not "spell out" the spiritual principles. They represent spiritual principles. You seem to be "balking" at wording and ideals that are nearly 70 years old. We don't use the word "whatever" in the same context that they used it in then. There are a lot of strange words and phrases that are no longer customary. Who says John Barleycorn anymore? Seems a bit silly to me. Religion isn't very prevalent either. I overlook some odd words and ideals to get the bigger picture. The real point in the 12 step program is to get better, not get well. Progress is the point.

Hello Daphne,

Thanks for the letter, but hold on right there. The 12 Steps are just a rewrite of Frank Buchman's cult practices. There are no spiritual "principles" in them. The 12 Steps are PRACTICES — things you do, not PRINCIPLES, which are like moral standards. Making lists of all of your shortcomings and wrongs and confessing them to your sponsor is a cult practice, not a moral principle. And conducting a séance in Step Eleven and listening for The Voice of Higher Power to tell you what to do is an OCCULT PRACTICE, not a spiritual principle.

And it is not a matter of archaic language. Frank Buchman was clearly using deceptive cult recruiting and indoctrination practices in his "Five C's" and "Six Practices of the Sane". See orange-rroot090.html. You will find all of the precursors of Alcoholics Anonymous practices there.

Alcoholics have no chance of being like "normal" people. We don't think like normal people do. We certainly don't act like normal people do. We have a hopeless condition that requires a "total psychic change" if we want to live happy productive lives. Those of us who are beaten down enough ARE willing to go to any length and are certainly willing to take certain steps and meet a few simple requirements to stop the madness of our completely hopeless situation. I have tried to recover without praying it didn't work. I don't know why but it didn't. By the time I came to AA I had tried everything I could think of to stop drinking on my own TO NO AVAIL.

Now you are trying to foist the usual A.A. stereotype of "The Alcoholic" on us. Alcoholics are not a separate species of animal, different from normal humans. Alcoholics ARE normal humans, just normal humans with a really bad drinking problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous constantly declares that they want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism, and then they turn around and parrot this garbage about how alcoholics are abnormal subhumans, which only increases the stigma of alcoholism. (If alcoholics are all just mentally-defective powerless sinners, why would you want to trust one?)

It reminds me of the current Miss USA, Tara Conner, who went on the Jay Leno show a couple of weeks ago. She was fresh out of a rehab center with 58 days of sobriety, and was just full of the A.A. slogans, and she announced, "Everything that comes out of the mouth of an alcoholic or an addict is a lie."
Apparently, she didn't have the brains to notice that, since she was a self-proclaimed alcoholic, that statement from her also had to be a lie. (That is a classic example of the Greek Epimenides's paradox about "All Cretins are liars".)

The situation with alcoholics is not hopeless. That is just Step One again — you are supposedly powerless over alcohol. Again, you are showing us that the 12 Steps are cult nonsense, not "spiritual principles". Alcoholics quit drinking all of the time, so they are not powerless.

Your "to no avail" argument is worthless. You may have tried everything that you could think of, but what does that mean? Did you expect somebody else to do the quitting for you? Did you think that somebody would make it easy for you? You obviously didn't think of really quitting and just staying quit, no matter what.

I have no idea why AA works as well as it does. I only care that it DOES work. I am certainly no religious freak. FAR from it. The vast majority of us are not religious at all. Those who are keep it to themselves typically. I would have never been accepted by the Oxford Group. I would have been rejected too.

A.A. does not work. It has a zero-percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission. If you think A.A. works, why don't you answer these simple questions:

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will pick up a ten-year coin for sobriety?
How about the 11-year coin? What percentage of the newcomers go on to get an 11-year coin?
How many success stories are there really, out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A.?

I don't care why Mr. Wilson wrote the steps. Those steps have helped many thousands upon thousands of men and women recover a day at a time from alcoholism. Why would you or anyone else want to belittle that? Your motive is unclear in your "article". I am only curious about your motive. Did you go to an AA meeting? Were they rude? Some alcoholics are a bit crass but most aren't. We can be a narcissistic bunch. However we truly try to be understanding and compassionate. Love and tolerance tends to be the code.

Again, the Steps haven't helped anybody. They are just some harmful cult religion practices that actually raise the A.A. death rate.

If Acceptance, Faith, Surrender & Trust, Honesty, Courage, Willingness, Humility, Forgiveness, Freedom, Perseverance, Patience and Charity & Love are not good things to "practice in all my affairs" then I am at a loss. They seem good to me. A lot better than what I have practiced in the past.

Lots of good buzz-words there. What does that flowery talk have to do with lying to the newcomers with lines like: "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail..." ?

I have a little challenge for you. For one week just try to practice the "principles" on the list that are character traits in your everyday life. You'll never get it perfect. No one does. Just try it. Acceptance (traffic, Road construction, idiots everywhere!) Honesty (duh don't lie by omission or otherwise!) Courage, Willingness, Humility, Forgiveness, Patience, Charity and Love. Let me know how it goes if you will.

How do you know that I didn't start practicing those things 40 or 50 years ago? Do you believe that only members of your favorite cult are spiritual?

P.S. AA has no monopoly on recovery everyone is free to find it where ever they can. We have no need to recruit anyone. The court system sends them to us when they mess up bad enough.

Coercive recruiting is nothing to be proud of. If you were really spiritual you would not even allow it.

Best Wishes and Good Luck!
Daphne F.
Alcoholic Extraordinaire

RE: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-rroot030.html

Alright, Daphne, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  An A.A. true believer (Craig S.) babbled:
**  > How many times to I have to explain it to you. Alcohol
**  > is but a symptom, our bottles are but a symbol.
**  No, alcohol is a poisonous clear hydrocarbon solvent
**  that produces intoxication if swallowed in quantity.
**  Drinking alcohol is the cause of alcoholism.
**  There is no other "primary cause" of alcoholism.

Date: Tue, February 27, 2007 8:19 pm
From: "Sara O."
Subject: Hello



Date: Tue, February 27, 2007 8:23 pm
From: "Sara O."
Subject: hello

if u need a sponsor.. give me a call... that is when u realize that ur ideas AA are wrongggg. u must be miserable.

Well, Sara,

That's so amusing that I don't even know what to say.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when
** you have forgotten your aim.  == George Santayana

Date: Wed, February 28, 2007 9:44 pm     (Answered 4 March 2007.)
From: J.
Subject: Losing a loved one to REHAB

I just read your site and wow! so much of what you talk about is what I seem to be living right now!

My g/f of three years recently came to me and admitted to being addicted to prescription meds. We immediately enrolled her in a rehab center called Starlite outside of San Antonio.

As far as I knew, our relationship was great and up until the day she left she insisted she had to go, for her and for us. I had just signed on a new house that we were to move into, and the day before she left she asked me to drive down there so she could have a last look at OUR new home before she left. As far as I will ever knew, our relationship was about as solid as they come, and I made it VERY clear that I'd do what ever it took to get her healthy and back on solid footing.

Her 1st two weeks in rehab, she called everyday, and told me it was hell, but always followed up with "but the thought of being back with you gets me through each day" or something similar.

During her 2nd week there, she cut off ALL communication, with me, her family, and her ex husband who was very supportive of her getting help and who also took temporary custody of their 4-year-old son while she was away (he's a good guy and happens to be a friend of mine as well). NO ONE could figure out why she wasn't even calling her son.

Well, the last couple of days she was there, she called her mother and her ex husband, and told them she would be coming home for one week to see her son and then straight to Dallas to a Sober Living home (still no communication at all to me). She came home (I didn't even know her flight number or time), and her mother picks her up and takes her to her house with her son. She stayed two days instead of a week, and just left the kid with her mom, got in her truck and took off for Dallas. At the advice of an addiction specialist, I stayed away these two days, he told me she would approach me when she was ready. From talking to her mother and other family members, they said she was absolutely beligerant with them any time they questioned what she was planning etc. They all felt like she viewed them as the enemy and that they had somehow lost the kind, caring thoughtful woman who had left thirty days before.

I tried calling her numerous times to no avail.

On tuesday of last week her mother called me and said we needed to talk. After my g/f had left, the racoons had ripped open the trash outside and scattered it all over. Upon picking it up, her mother found MANY notes between my g/f and a guy named Mark. All written back and forth on what looked like lesson plans from the twelve step program. From the look of it, the two of them sat through class writing love notes back and forth and planning their future together in Dallas. And looking at the dates on some of them I realized this "romance" started a little over a week into the program. We both sat there in the lawn and cried.

Anyway, I was devastated at losing her like this and so ashamed as she apparently was even willing to give up her most adored little boy (she had told family that she had to be willing to give up EVERYTHING including her son in order to be clean). I called her cell phone that night and left her a long message about the notes etc. She called back not more than two minutes later and berated me for even questioning her integrity and told me how disgusted she was in me etc., and said that it was none of my business, or her mom's business or anyone elses business as to what she was doing. She said "No more living to make other people happy! The one thing I learned in there was that this is my life and from now on I'm making decisions for me! And you have no right questioning what I do with my life!"

WOW! None of my business???? Thirty days before we were planning our future together, and without a word of explanation it's none of my business???

I'm slowly getting over it all and beginning to move myself into my new/far too large home.

My question to you is, how common do you think romances like this are? The addiction specialist I know told me that these "rehab romances" are a dirty little secret of those places and happen way more often than anyone is willing to admit. True????

Write back, I'm hurting so badly and am really just trying to understand what went so horribly wrong in such a short period of time!



Hello J.,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your pain and loss.

I don't know how common such romances in rehab centers are — I just don't have any numbers or statistics.

I do know that a standard slogan is to tell newly-detoxed alcoholics and addicts not to get into any new relationships during the first year of sobriety. But that rule gets broken all of the time, and recovery groups are often called just little Peyton Places.

One of the problems with many rehab programs is that they have the attitude that they are going to break down the old personality of the client ("destroy the addictive personality") and create a new personality — one of a person who is "in recovery". Unfortunately, some of the rehab centers really do know how to use brainwashing techniques effectively. (Look here.)

Still, such a major personality change so rapidly is frightening.

The statement that she had to be "willing to give up EVERYTHING" is typical cult fare. Such extreme black-and-white thinking, even to the point of abandoning her own child, is insane. And yet that is just the kind of thinking that Steppers teach.

I got the very same thing, almost word for word identical, when I was "in treatment". I was trying to explain to my cocaine-snorting child-molesting "counselor" that I was missing A.A. meetings and not making my quota because I had bronchitis and pneumonia and couldn't go out in the cold night air in December to get to A.A. meetings. But I never even got to say that whole sentence because he went off on a tangent about how I could not let ANYTHING get in front of my recovery, and that if I REALLY wanted to recover, I would get to the meetings somehow. "Recovery must be the most important thing in your life. You can't let anything get in front of your recovery. There is no excuse for not going to meetings."

Fortunately, I ignored his nutty advice and took care of my health first.

By the way, he was also the "counselor" who told me not to stop smoking at the same time as I quit drinking. "If you put too much stuff on your plate, something will spill off."

Get a load of that: I was quitting smoking because I had bronchitis and pneumonia, and he was telling me not to quit smoking — just concentrate on quitting drinking. Such is the kind of "help" that you get in far too many "treatment programs".

I wish I could come up with some answer for what to do about your friend. Alas, I don't have any magical sage advice. It sounds like the damage is done and she is gone.

Have a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.

Date: Mon, March 5, 2007 1:39 pm
From: "Dennis M."
Subject: J's story

Hi AO:

I just read J's story:

Date: Wed, February 28, 2007 9:44 pm (Answered 4 March 2007.)
From: J.
Subject: Losing a loved one to REHAB

I wanted to offer a little insight, if you would care to relay it to him. Unfortunately, I doubt that I can offer any comfort, but I certainly extend my condolences.

Specifically, he asks at the end of the story:

My question to you is, how common do you think romances like this are? The addiction specialist I know told me that these "rehab romances" are a dirty little secret of those places and happen way more often than anyone is willing to admit. True????

I have been in two in-patient treatment centers, as well as literally growing up in and around the treatment center industry, so I feel I'm qualified to speak here.

Are these romances a "dirty little secret"? I'm not sure exactly what J means, but are they common? Absolutely.

When people enter these facilities, they are immediately beaten down. One needs only to read through your many letters to get a glimpse of what that means. Essentially, they try to strip you down so that you can be built back up to their liking.

That means being treated like children... dirty, rotten little spoiled children who must have their spirits broken.

It's basic human psychology. Anytime you take adults and treat them like children, the ones in the children's role are going to rebel. When this is done in a group setting, and there are multiple "children" interacting, an "us versus them" mentality is quickly established. Even if staff members are liked, it will exist to some degree. Believe me, this is a natural occurrence and happens in every facility.

Now as a result of this, strong bonds are formed between "patients" or "clients". I know this bond, and it doesn't have to be opposite sex either. When it is opposite sex, however, this bond can quickly be confused for intimacy. It's seldom genuine, but it will seem very real for a period of time.

J's girlfriend likely forged a friendship with this other guy, and as their humiliation grew with all of the "therapy", it just got confused for more. You see, she's removed from everything that she knows and loves, daily attempts are made to make her cry (this constitutes "growth") and she can only seek comfort where it is available, between the walls of the treatment center with the other "children".

Now it is true that many AA sponsors and treatment center workers advocate no relationships for a year. This evolved from the teaching that one shouldn't make any major life changes in the first year if avoidable, such as a job change, divorce, etc. Like many things, it's been twisted.

I would completely agree that a person quitting their addiction should leave a significant other if that other person continues to drink/use and makes an effort to bring the person down. But that clearly isn't the case with J. He made it clear that he would support and encourage her through this from the beginning.

The only good news is that if she's still in the facility, it's unlikely the relationship has progressed to being physical. If J can relay that he will be supportive of her recovery then she might come to her senses eventually. I would advise him not to say anything negative about the treatment she's getting right now though, even though it's clearly doing harm. Another us versus them mentality is being instilled in her, and right now she'll see him as a"normie".

She'll be there for her son eventually.

A sad story indeed, and what is sadder is how common it is.


Dennis M.
Senior Consultant

Hello again, Dennis,

Thanks for the letter. I think you hit the nail right on the head.

Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any way for J. to save his marriage. And alas, the relationship has progressed to physical. She is out of the treatment center and gone to Dallas to live with her new boyfriend.

For a treatment center to mess up a person's mind like that after it has promised to help her is once again just the most despicable malpractice.

Where are the blood-sucking ambulance-chasing lawyers when you need one?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Wed, March 7, 2007 10:12 am
From: "Dennis M."
Subject: RE: J's story

Thanks Orange.

I had a thought I had intended to share with you earlier, but didn't:

I've noticed several reply letters, usually to steppers, that ask about success rates and how many new members out of 1,000 go on to acquire a 10 year coin.

I was thinking that the rate of alcoholics that do is actually lower than what the numbers indicate, because there are so many people, and I mean LOTS, that aren't alcoholic, they are just so in love with the cult. Yeah I know, I can't take their inventories, but they are in the rooms in abundance.

About a year and a half ago, when I started meetings again (I'm now 6 months meeting free), I ran into Dale, whom I hadn't seen in 17 years. Dale boasted 18 years sober, is now in his thirties, and hasn't done squat with his life.

I know that in all probability, Dale drank only once in his entire life. He was a regular at Alateen meetings and his sister went into rehab, so he got a lot of exposure to AA and latched on to us as much as he could. He was a really dorky kid. One night, he called me and my friend Eric (we were both teens in AA then, and Eric dated Dale's sister) and started talking crazy. We went to his house and he was drinking malt liquor out of a paper bag, and probably hadn't even drank 10 ounces. We called him an idiot and left. The next day, he was getting his beginner's token.

I can think of countless people I've known in Alanon, Alateen and other programs over the span of 25 years that even though weren't drinkers, came to the conclusion that they were alcoholic and started to go to AA meetings too.

Obviously, the AA's have higher "spiritual status", and are seen above the other steppers. The gal I mentioned in a previous letter that attempted suicide is one such person, big into Alanon and then crossed-over.

Pretty pathetic, really.

I hope you don't mind all of these letters, I know you're busy with others. I just have a lot to say now that my thinking has kicked in.

Dennis M.
Senior Consultant

Hi again, Dennis.

Thanks for the input. I couldn't agree more. Something that A.A. really doesn't want to talk about is the people who are just in love with A.A. as a cult religion — who actually have no need of a sobriety program — who just like being "in recovery" as a life-style and a social club and a philosophy of life.

When you think about it, most other cults are built on the basis of something other than claiming to cure drug and alcohol problems. And yet, they attract the same kinds of personalities, many of them the true believers in search of something to believe in. The newcomers take to the cult like a duck to water — it's love at first sight. They are just as Bill Wilson described:

"When we reached A.A., and for the first time in our lives stood among people who seemed to understand, the sense of belonging was tremendously exciting."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 57.

Yes, welcome to your new family.

Oh well, have a good day anyway. And don't worry about too many letters from you. I like your comments and the thoughts that you add to the discussion.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** And the believers said, "If you want what we
** have, and are willing to go to any length to
** get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

From: "jennie k."
Subject: THANK YOU
Date: Mon, March 5, 2007 11:09 am

Dear orange,

Thank you so very much for your website.

I have been a member of GA for seven months now. Although I truely appreciate the opportunity for me to come to know the others who share the same or similar gambling problems like mine, I never felt right being in the meetings. I came to notice there are a certain group of people who I just can't understand what they are doing. They are the true believers of Twelve Step programs (often more than two A' meeting members in addition to GA).

I have a personality easily manipulated, but I always knew deep inside something was wrong in the meetings.

Thank you so very much for validating my feelings and thought.
You literally saved my life, so I can get out of this cult.


The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Albert Einstein

Hello Jennie,

Thanks for the thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
**  stable world at peril.

Date: Mon, March 5, 2007 1:44 pm
From: "Michelle B."
Subject: Great site.

Hi Agent Orange.

You chose your name well. You're poison as your name suggests.


[From Wikipedia:]
Agent Orange, given its name from the 55 US gallon orange-striped barrels it was shipped in, is a roughly 1:1 mixture of two phenoxy herbicides <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenoxy_herbicide> in ester <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ester> form, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2%2C4-dichlorophenoxyacetic_acid> (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2%2C4%2C5-trichlorophenoxyacetic_acid> (2,4,5-T).

Hello Michelle,

I'm quite familiar with the chemistry of agent orange. Back in the seventies, I worked on a protest project to keep the leftover poison from being dumped here in the USA.

My nom de plume is derived from a joke about mixing apples and oranges, however.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Rule your desires or they will rule you.

Date: Fri, February 2, 2007 6:30 am
From: "RICK ROSS" <[email protected]>
Subject: Flaming Websites Award

A. Orange:


You have won a Flaming Website Award!

See http://www.rickross.com/flamingwebsites.html

You won two out of a possible four flames award level.

Feel free to stop by and grab your badge of honor.

See http://www.rickross.com/graphics/2flame.html

Rick Ross

Ah yes, Hello Rick.
It would be fun to debate you sometime in a neutral forum where you cannot censor your opponents' letters.
Have a good day.
== Orange

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

Date: Mon, February 5, 2007 11:52 am
From: "RICK ROSS" <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Flaming Websites Award

Whatever "debate" arguments you had were made by you and others urged to "troll" the message board.

And now you have an award too.


Rick Ross

Actually, no, I did not get to state my case.
You cut me off after just a few postings.
What other people may have said before I came along has nothing to do with me, and they do not speak for me.

Nor did they say all of what I would have said.

If you want to really honestly discuss the cultish characterists of Alcoholics Anonymous, we can do so on my web site, and I promise not to censor your letters or cut you off.

Have a good day.
== Orange

Date: Mon, February 5, 2007 2:07 pm
From: "RICK ROSS" <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Flaming Websites Award

No thanks.

Not relevant to my work.

Rick Ross

UPDATE: Finally, how sweet it is. Rick Ross now has a couple of web pages up on his web site that declare that Alcoholics Anonymous (at least the Washington DC Midtown Group branch of it) is in fact a cult after all.
This is after Ross banned, censored, and erased messages of those people who insisted on his forum that A.A. was a cult.

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Last updated 29 December 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters79.html