Letters, We Get Mail, LXXXVII

Date: Mon, May 28, 2007 2:55 pm
From: "James G."
Subject: Pyramid schemes and AA; is there a similarity?


Thanks for the recent email; much appreciated. Things are indeed changing...


On the above link you will see a video I have made regarding the similarities between AA and pyramid schemes, or multilevel marketing. The comparison seems more wanted that one might assume.

I would be interested in hearing from the visitors of your website who have been involved in both AA and pyramid schemes.

Many thanks.

J a m e s G

Date: Mon, May 28, 2007 5:16 pm
From: "James G"
Subject: AA and Rick Ross
To: "RICK ROSS" <[email protected]>,"Orange" <[email protected]>


I saw you on the BBC Panorama program aired recently in the UK. I know we have not always seen eye to eye in terms of the AA debate, but I wanted to say that I was horrified to hear about the PDF file that Scientology had produced on you. It also led me to conclude that much of what has been written about you on the Wikipedia entry for your name stems from that file. (A file that I would encourage Orange to scrutinise and remove from his links page if he can establish any unfair bias.)

Although I believe AA can harm people and despite the fact you disagree with me on that point, I certainly do not advocate the kind of tactics that have been used to belittle your word, and your knowledge, on the subject of cults. I prefer to hear the points people have to make and judge those points on there merit, and not on whatever mistakes the person may or may not have made. For what it is worth I think you came across very well in the program, and I think you have a tremendous amount of courage for tackling all the organisations that you do.

I would also like to add that I am saddened that you believe many of the people who side with the anti AA fanatics have flamed your board, and used tactics that you would normally associate with the cults that you investigate. I have for a long time been calling for a proper, decent and civilised debate on the merits of AA's efficacy. It is not an easy task to achieve when you have such a polarisation of views, and I have witnessed first hand how easily the debate descends into a war that employs the use of ad hominems.

In all honesty, and despite my attempts to mask my motives, I am writing this email with the hopes of achieving an aim; I would request your participation in a debate with Agent Orange on the question of whether AA is a cult or not, that I would host on my site. Although that notion might not appear appealing to you in the first instance, I must point out that the only motivation for my participation in this debate has been with the hope of learning, not proving. There is a fine line, and indeed a subtle difference, between those two objectives. I do not hide the fact that I believe AA can cause more problems than it solves for many people, but one question I have always reserved judgment on is the one of whether AA is a cult or not. If the aim is to learn, then it is hard to make such claims that AA is a cult without hearing the points offered from both sides of the debate, and perhaps more importantly in this scenario, from learned, researched and well intentioned persons. I think both Agent Orange and yourself fit the aforementioned criteria.

I know that you have answered this point within your forums, but what this opportunity might afford is a chance for viewers to have the questions posed and thus answered in one sphere without having to trudge your forum.

Finally, I humbly request that you make an effort to separate those that serve an appetite to prove, and instead make your expertise in this field useful to the people that are driven by something far more productive, and that is a of course a desire to learn. At the risk of sounding holier than thou, I might assume it was this very drive in you that resulted in the establishment of the Rick Ross Institute. The question is often more revealing than the answer; is it not?

It would be a lazy mind that reached the conclusion I have never challenged Orange; indeed I have; I am not here to make friends, I am here to alleviate any ignorance that might allow me to achieve easy conclusions ? and to echo the above, my hunger to learn. If you are in any doubt about those sentiments a quick online search will reveal how many supporters I have lost because I refuse to promote a cause without thorough investigation.

Whether you choose to engage in this debate or not, I applaud your efforts. What intrigues me about you is the fact that so many of the visitors to my site support your efforts despite how much you appear to disagree with our views on AA. I don't regard that as a threat; but as an opportunity.

In keeping with my desire to keep this debate open I have sent this email to Agent Orange.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

J a m e s G

PS And just as I have stated Agent Orange might be wrong to rely on the Wikipedia entry about you, I would also state that awarding him a flame medal might also be an error.

Date: Wed, May 30, 2007 10:27 am     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "James G"

Oh well at least I tried ha ha — I kind of knew there was little hope.

Rick's response —

I am not interested in rehashing the AA argument once again.

There is a group that is drawing attention in the US, which is associated with AA.

See http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general915.html

Rick Ross

Hi again, James,

Alas, yes, hopeless. Oh well, there are other and better forums — ones that actually do believe in freedom of speech.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Was it not mostly people from Saudi Arabia that were involved
**  in 9-11?  Our ally?  Bush 41 was in a meeting that morning with
**  Osama's brother.  Nothing is getting under your skin here?
**  Alan E. Moses
**  http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=28122

Date: Tue, May 29, 2007 3:51 am     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "Tim L."
Subject: Question

Are you an alcoholic?

Hi Tim,

By my definition, the answer is "Yes". But watch out for the definitions. A.A. uses several definitions of "alcoholic", and they mean very different things. We were just discussing that before, so see that answer here.

Also see this history:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick.
  3. really an alcoholic...

Have a good day.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."
**    ==  Abraham Lincoln

Date: Tue, May 29, 2007 10:21 pm     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Fwd: ACT NOW!
To: "Jack Trimpey" <[email protected]>,[email protected]

Can we get this shit stopped already???? HOW!? HELP!

[email protected]

Subject: ACT NOW!
From: "CAADAC LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE" [email protected]
Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 19:13:41 -0400 (EDT)


Take Action! Visit this page:


The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (H.R. 1424) is the most important addiction-related legislation that Congress has considered in over a decade.

We must act now!

Ensuring that all Americans have fair access to addiction treatment is top legislative priority. The Paul Wellstone parity bill is a crucial step towards this goal. The bill says the following:

An insurance plan must provide the same benefits (co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, etc.) to patients seeking mental health or addiction treatment that it provides for medical/surgical treatment. Insurance plans may not impose different treatment limitations (number of visits, frequency of visits, etc.) on mental health or addiction coverage than the limitations for medical/surgical treatment. If an insurance plan provides out-of-network coverage for medical/surgical care, it must provide the same level of out-of-network coverage for mental health and addiction treatment. The bill does not preempt state laws that guarantee stronger parity protection.Over 250 Members of Congress have co-sponsored the parity bill so far. Please send your Representative an e-mail now to either thank them for their support or urge them to co-sponsor the bill. When you enter your zip code, CapWiz will automatically show you the appropriate letter for your Member of Congress.

Hi John,

I'm going to have to put together another web page for people to use to email their Senators and Congresspersons about this. Right now, I ask people to call or write their representatives and object to this legislation on the basis that it merely rewards and promotes quackery.

Something that I have been stressing and requesting is TESTING of drug and alcoholism treatment programs. There is no reason that the government or health insurance companies should have to pay for ineffective quackery. The FDA should be testing treatments the same way as they test drugs — with Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies. (I understand that the FDA does not currently test medical treatments. They should.)

I am all for drug and alcohol rehab treatment that actually works, but the 12-Step treatment does not work at all, and never has. Alcoholics Anonymous has failed every valid medical test of its effectiveness. And yet, 12-Step nonsense is the treatment program in 93% of the treatment centers in the USA.

This fact should be stressed to the Senators and Congresspersons.

I would recommend to the Senators and Congresspersons that no one should have to pay for treatment which has not been proven to be effective. Neither we the taxpayers, nor we the patients, nor we the health insurance buyers, should have to pay for fraud and quackery.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If we persist in writing blank checks to
** treatment centers without demanding results,
** then we will continue to get failure
** disguised as success.
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Wed, May 30, 2007 2:40 pm     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: Anonymous
Subject: Midtown AA is not that unusual

HI Orange,

Midtown AA is not that unusual. I have left AA and now follow my own inner guidance. I was very active for many years and found lots of cultish behavior and control.

There is a group in Los Angeles that is very Cult-like. The group is called the Pacific Group. The leader Clancy is getting older now I don't know if he is still @ it, but for years the women complained about his sexual misconduct and financial exploitation. He controlled members in all areas of their lives. He had people show up on Sat. and pick up trash in his yard. It was his way or no way.

Because I know how vicious some AA members can be, please do not give my name on your site. I am many years sober and intend to stay that way. The pacific group used to say you had to stay in their group to stay sober. Lots of very sick dogma.


Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I've been hearing things about the Pacific Group too, and I'd like to learn more.

What is unusual about the Midtown Group is that they have managed to get into so much trouble that they have made the big time, and are being reported on in Newsweek magazine and on NBC4 TV. I hope that we see more of this new openness and accuracy in reporting.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "WHEN a pretension to free the world from evil ends only in a new proof
**   of the danger of a fanatic to the commonweal, then it is not to be
**   marveled at that a distrust is aroused in the observer which makes
**   sympathy impossible."  ==  Sigmund Freud

Date: Wed, May 30, 2007 10:12 pm     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "jm"
Subject: nice work...

Quite amazing insight. Are you an alcoholic or addict or recovered for that matter?

Hi JM,

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, I am or was all three of those things: "an alcoholic or addict or recovered for that matter". I have 6 1/2 years clean and sober now. I haven't even smoked a cigarette in 6 1/2 years, thank God for small favors.

Here is the usual list of autobiographical items:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. really an alcoholic...
  5. the story about "Rat Park"

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

[2nd letter from JM:]

Date: Tue, June 26, 2007 11:42 pm     (answered 28 June 2007)
From: "jm"
Subject: Re: nice work...

You know bro. I'm glad I'm not in your head...Thats why I stay in the rooms — so I don't start picking everything and everyone to pieces. A quite mind and a loving heart is all I can ask for. If you want to do something positive it usually doesnt start with a negative. Yeah I know simple simple — but hell, you are putting a lot of effort into something that isn't even that important...it's totally bizarre and funny. It must be painful though. It works for me...the program that is. You sound a lot like I did when I stopped going to meeting for a couple of years. Life still happens no matter what. People go out and it hurts. My friends might not be alive if they weren't back in the rooms. For now that is. I won't even try to compete with you intellectually. It's a spiritual program, right? I don't see anything about Harry Tiebout in your writtings. I haven't read them all though. It's just too damn much to read. Very interesting- but too much material...Good luck! Keep coming back!!!

Hello again, JM,

That is quite a stream of slogans and unsubstantiated statements:

  1. "why I stay in the rooms — so I don't start picking everything and everyone to pieces."

    So "the rooms" teach you to be open-minded, and honestly consider what the critics of Alcoholics Anonymous are saying? I don't think so.

    You are going to "stay in the rooms"? What a tragic waste of time. Why don't you get out and live?

  2. "If you want to do something positive it usually doesnt start with a negative."

    Oh really? Let's see...

    • Martin Luther nailing his complaints on the church door...
    • Jesus Christ whipping the money-changers from the temple...
    • Abraham Lincoln waging war against the South, and freeing the slaves....
    • The founding fathers of the U.S.A. rebelling and fighting against British tyranny...

    Would we have been better off if those people weren't so "negative" and hadn't begun their work by being negative?

  3. "but hell, you are putting a lot of effort into something that isn't even that important..."

    What? Telling the truth about addictions, alcoholism and recovery isn't important? By your own logic then, A.A., A.A. meetings, and the Big Book aren't very important either, are they? You imagine that they tell the truth about alcoholism, but that isn't "important"...

    What you are illustrating now is the propaganda and debating technique called "Minimization and Denial". A.A. members often claim that alcoholics are very good at using that technique, usually to claim that they don't really need to quit drinking or quit smoking. But they also use it to minimize the bad parts of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  4. "Life still happens no matter what."

    Well yeh, but that's just another slogan. What does that have to do with the benefits to be gained from joining a dishonest cult religion that claims to cure or treat things that it doesn't?

  5. "People go out and it hurts."

    Prove it. Show me any valid study that shows that participation in A.A. is better than quitting on your own, alone, or by going to another program, or another group like SMART or SOS or WFS. —That means a real valid fair test, a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study, where the results are not faked for the benefit of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    The real valid studies — done by real doctors — show that A.A. members do worsethey binge drink more and they die more.

    And when R. K. Hester and W.R. Miller (UNM, Albuquerque — Center for Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Addictions, Dept. of Psychology, University of New Mexico) rated the various alcoholism treatments in their book Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives, A.A. 12-Step treatment went so far down the list that it almost disappeared. The best treatment was Brief Interventions, and it got a positive score of 390. A.A. got a negative score, MINUS 82, way below zero.

  6. "My friends might not be alive if they weren't back in the rooms."

    Might? That's just the propaganda trick of sly suggestions. You don't really know what alternate realities could have occurred in other time-lines.

    And it's also fear-mongering, something that A.A. also does a lot.

  7. "It works for me...the program that is."

    Baloney. You are assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists.

  8. "It's a spiritual program, right?"

    Wrong. There is nothing spiritual about lying to sick people about how well a suggested course of treatment really works. And yet you begin every A.A. meeting by incanting the lies of Bill Wilson: "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail..."

    And the 12 Steps are not spiritual, they are superstitious practices that Bill Wilson copied from Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult. Frank Buchman created those practices for recruiting and indoctrinating cult members.

  9. "I don't see anything about Harry Tiebout in your writtings. I haven't read them all though."

    See these web pages:

If you really want to recover and be healthy, get out of The Roomz and get some fresh air and sunshine. (And if you smoke, definitely quit smoking.)

And have a good day.

== Orange

Here's my meeting: Here you see some members of my home group, arriving at the meeting.

Canada Goose family
Click on image for larger version

The father is the big guy at left front. The mother is the big goose with her head down at center rear. There are seven goslings, all theirs, in the picture, including the straggler way back at the right, with its head up, checking out the scene.

That's the normal order for geese: The father leads, the goslings follow, and then the mother brings up the rear, urging the stragglers along.

The gosling front and center is the oldest, biggest male of the brood. He is only about four months old, but he is growing up fast. He is already getting his adult feathers, and his neck is turning black and his cheeks are turning white. And the testosterone is taking affect. He shows all of the signs of growing into a big alpha male. Already, he just has to push forwards, and take the lead, even from his own father.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  And the Lord our God spake, and He saeth: "Shall I give
**  the alcoholic woman Susie a day of sobriety, just for today?
**  Should I give her a one-day reprieve from her death sentence?
**  Should I release her from the 'spiritual disease' of
**  alcoholism today?
**     "Well, how much has she been praying? How much has she
**  been confessing? How diligently has she been working Bill
**  Wilson's Twelve Steps?
**     "Nah, I don't see why I should spare her. I mean, I've
**  been tormenting her with alcoholism for 20 years already;
**  there's no reason why I should change things now."

Canadian Goose gosling, nibbling toes
This assertive gosling is biting my toes (not too hard) to get my attention and nag me. He thinks that if he nags me enough that I will give him some more bread. Alas, I was out of bread. I had already given it all away. So all of his nibbling and nagging was for nought.

female Mallard Duck
A female Mallard Duck. She likes bread too. The geese think that feeding bread to the ducks is a waste of good bread. The duck disagrees.

Date: Thu, May 31, 2007 10:26 am     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "brent p."
Subject: your opinions on Tiebout & AA

I suspect this is pointless but, what the heck. What is your problem dude? AA is not a cult. Neither is it a religion by any definition I know of.

Hello Brent,

Yes, A.A. is a cult. That is a FACT, not an OPINION. The evidence is overwhelming. Read The Cult Test.

And A.A. is a religion, too. Several United States District Court judges have ruled on that, and they all agreed that Alcoholics Anonymous engages in religious activities, and that A.A. meetings are religious services.

A religion does not stop being a religion just because somebody incants, "It's Spiritual, Not Religious".

Brainwashing? Hardly, although many in AA would readily admit to needing at least a good brain dusting — a clearing out of the cobwebs if you like.

Again, check the facts. A.A. meets all of the criteria for a good brainwashing program. A.A. fits the descriptions of brainwashing programs that were written by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer, and Dr. Edgar H. Schein.

Angry, anti-AA people like you astonish me. Show me the harm AA has done. The real harm. The shattered lives it has produced. The homeless it has created. The disenfranchised. Show me how AA lures unsuspecting winos into its fold then turns them into glassy eyed sycophantic adherents.

You want to see the harm that Alcoholics Anonymous has done? Okay. Read these items:

  1. Another AA/NA horror story: First, a sponsor seduces the guy's girl-friend, then the group seduces his 15-year-old god-son; then, years later, another A.A. group nearly destroys his marriage.

  2. The sponsor from hell: brainwashing a 22 year old newcomer to AA

  3. Another old-timer writes about his experiences with "the evil empire".

  4. A girl is hijacked to a 12-Step treatment center by an aunt, after the aunt gives the girl alcohol.

  5. The family left behind in the quest for "sobriety"

  6. Growing Up In a 12 Step Home

  7. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics.

  8. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness.

  9. Dr. Walsh found that "free A.A." made later hospitalization more expensive.

  10. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that having a doctor talk to the patient for just one hour was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.

  11. And the most damning evidence of all came from a current leader of Alcoholics Anonymous, Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous [World] Services, Inc.. He found that Alcoholics Anonymous was completely ineffective for getting alcoholics to quit drinking, and the biggest effect of A.A. was to raise the death rate in alcoholics. No other way of treating alcoholics produced such a high death rate as did Alcoholics Anonymous.

  12. And of course you should check out Mike Q.'s Midtown Group to see how a "self-governing" A.A. group sexually exploits underage girls.

  13. And the same thing is going on in Phoenix, California, and Minneapolis, too.

I've been a member for twenty five years and can say with complete and utter candor that I never did anything in AA that I didn't want to do. In fact I am continually reminded that how I practise (or don't) the steps in my life is entirely up to me. I continue to be impressed by the real democracy of the organization (and I use the word organization loosely). I think the thing that pisses people like you off is the simple fact that AA really does nothing much of anything except hold meetings for people who have discovered that, when facing a problem like alcoholism, there is strength in numbers. No big whup. No conspiracy. No brainwashing. No secret plot to poison the well water. Relax pal. Have a drink.

Cheers, Brent P.

Thank you for the recommendation that I have a drink. You just proved that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult that is more concerned with its own appearance than with the welfare of alcoholics.

Have a good day anyway. And don't take a drink, no matter what.

Oh, and guess what important fact is missing from your praise of Alcoholics Anonymous?
What elephant in the living room are you blissfully ignoring?

You didn't talk about how well Alcoholics Anonymous really works to make alcoholics stop drinking.

What is the actual success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous?
Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them eventually 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?

We just talked about that, so I'll direct you to the questions, and the answers, here.

== 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: Sun, June 3, 2007 3:34 am     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "Gary"
Subject: sobriety

No matter how you cut it AA does work. And well. There were tons of inconsistencies in the life of Bill W. Contradictions in the program its self. Nonetheless I have 5 examples of AAs effectiveness for everyone of your muddled assertions.
Truely you are uneducated in this.
Lighten up
Gary N

Hello Gary,

Well, let's see your facts. You claim that A.A. works, and well. So show me the evidence.

What is the real A.A. success rate?
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?

Not very many, right?

The answers are here.

You claim to have 5 success stories? (per assertion...)
Is that all? And how many dozens or hundreds of A.A. failures were there at the same time?
Giving one number without the other, the count of A.A. successes without the count of failures, is meaningless.

And then you do a little minimization and denial tap-dance about Bill Wilson. Bill's life wasn't inconsistent. He was very consistently a criminal, a fraud, a con artist, a cult leader, a sexual predator, and a compulsive liar. He founded a cult and made a bunch of money off of it. And he used A.A. meetings as meat markets for his next sexual conquest. There was nothing inconsistent about Bill Wilson's behavior.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could
** touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started
** giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be
** broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries.
** This was all a scientific thing."
** === Nell Wing — PASS IT ON, page 370.
** (Nell Wing was an early secretary of A.A. and Bill Wilson.)
** Apparently, for treating alcoholics, LSD works three times
** better than cult religion.

Date: Sun, June 3, 2007 3:59 am     (answered 25 June 2007)
From: "Abraham G."
Subject: Thank's for your work

I've been sober for 5 years now but I found myself placing distance with other's and the entire AA sect about 3 years ago. I felt it was very cultish and I was sick of guru's with more time speaking as if they were sitting high atop the clouds. Your papers captures what I've seen and know to be true, very good work.



PS. I feel better since stepping into the world and away from the dogma.

Hi Abraham,

Thanks for the letter. And congratulations on your new freedom.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

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