Letters, We Get Mail, XCIX

Date: Thu, January 22, 2009 6:11 am
From: "B., James Mr"

Hello Orange:

(please keep my email hidden — cheers dude).

Big fan of your site. Your writing radically changed my life for the better.

I left AA after finding the experience frightening, isolating, powerful, irrational, and cruel.

I was suffering from major depression and major, major OCD whilst still trying to 'practice these principals in all my affairs' — needless to say, it scrambled me up even more.

I haven't been to a meeting in about 2 years — I am still clean, still sober. I work fulltime, keep fit, go to college, eat well etc — and I am mostly very, very happy.

Looking back on the 3 years I spent in AA I realise now how 'false' it made my thinking.

I hope this makes sense: it kind of created a false consciousness in where it encouraged me to be scared of things I didn't need to be scared of (mythical diseases, relapses that come from out of the blue, mystical and horrible 'character defects). So my head was full of nonesense.

And even more nonsensical was the compulsion to attend meetings, read literature, do service.

Little of it true or needed. AA membership was Thinking Bizarrely and Acting Bizzarely.

I don't need to do that anymore — acting and thinking on instruction, but, as I've said, acting bizzarely and thinking bizzarely on instruction.

I wouldn't want any human to have to suffer that sht.

Free of drink and AA — makes me as free as I've ever felt in my life.

Hope that made sense — it's very difficult to describe my AA/drink experience simply or straightforwardly.

Thanks again Orange — I will never forget this website as long as I live. I will be thinking of it fondly on the day I die — that's how much it means. It gave me the strength to get away and rebuild my life.

Hi James,

Thank you for the letter, and all of the compliments. I am glad to hear that you are doing well. That really sweetened the taste of the morning cup of coffee.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
** pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
** recovering their true sight, restore their government
** to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
** we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
** horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
** debt.     ==    Thomas Jefferson

Date: Thu, January 22, 2009 10:32 am
From: "Jamie Kelly"
Subject: Out of AA for good

Dear Mr. Orange,

I had grave misgivings about AA from the start.

When I entered a 30-day treatment program in October, I was a pretty sick drunk. Not falling over myself and blacking out nightly, granted, but still a fine mess. I knew little about AA, other than what I'd absorbed through our culture. All I knew was that "powerlessness" and "higher power" figured big into the program. After treatment, I began attending AA meetings regularly — the "90 in 90" stuff they recommended in rehab.

Because I am an atheist, I had — er, HAVE — grave misgivings about such a "spiritual" program. I was initially comforted by people who said that my "higher power" is one of my choosing, and so I chose "the universe," as I am intrigued by quantum theory and the ideas of Stephen Hawking and modern cosmologists and astrophysicists. However, it soon became clear that this was looked down upon. I wasn't "with the program." One AAer told me I had to read the chapter "We Agnostics" every day for 60 days, and then I would "get it." That struck me as hilarious, insulting and painfully disingenuous. In other words, he implied that I was too stupid and unenlightened and had never developed my own thinking on the matter, and that only by a daily routine of mindless repetition would I then develop a belief in God. I secretly thought to myself, well, if that were the case, then brushing my teeth would have become my religion a long time ago.

Still, I kept going.

Last week, one AA guy I barely know pulled me aside and started asking me about the medications I was on. Now if someone on the street came up to me and asked me that, he might be busy for a couple hours trying to find his teeth in the cracks of the sidewalk. But I humored him, and told him honestly that I was on Prozac. He then proceeded to talk about the "evils" of antidepressant medicine, and that I needed to find a way to get off them.

Yes, this little fucker was advising me to get off the medication that had helped save my life and sanity. That's some quality "fellowship."

Also last week, I collected my three-month coin. When I announced my 90 days of sobriety, I noticed an old-timer in the back give some money to a guy next to him. Later, this asshole informed me that he had made a bet with some people that I wouldn't make it 90 days.

This fucker was actually betting against me with other people in this wonderful fellowship of AA.

Those two events have now sealed my decision to leave AA altogether, to never walk through the doors of "the rooms" again. All my misgivings about AA turned out to be correct.

Alcoholics Anonymous is an enemy of science.

Alcoholics Anonymous is an enemy of medicine and psychiatry.

And that's just its philosophy. I won't bother talking about the curious psychology of the people who believe in and adhere to, as a lifestyle, the entire AA program. Suffice it to say that many of them are really, really twisted people.

I am happy to be sober today. I'm looking forward to a long life of sobriety. Already my life has improved in innumerable ways, and AA has nothing to do with it. The idea of slogging off, day after day, to a meeting to listen to the same, tired shit is now disgusting to me. I've let the floodgates of all my doubts about AA open, and it feels like a great relief.

Thanks for your Web site. Keep up the excellent work. It's important, and I hope it turns a lot of people away from a program that is as dangerous as it is abhorrent.

— Jamie Kelly, a man who's proud of both his names

Hi Jamie,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing better. Congratulations on your sobriety and your new-found freedom.

And have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, February 2, 2009 8:16 am     (answered 6 Feb.)
From: "Steve D."
Subject: Wife Doing 13th Step; Was Absorbed by AA

Hi Orange:

I have looked over your writings about AA and I agree...from what I have seen, AA (and Al-anon) are cults that prey on gullible and/or troubled individuals.

Unfortunately, my soon to be ex-wife is one of them.

She is the type of person that is easily led, and tends not to think critically.

Two years ago she joined AA, and became totally immersed in it...she basically went to work every day (when she was employed) and then spent every evening, weekend, and holiday at her AA club. While this was going on, she became very cold & hostile toward me.... when in the previous 13 years I was with her, she was warm and loving. Just before she joined AA, she told me that "she loved me more than ever". She talked about buying burial plots next to each other, and that she hoped she would go first because she did not want to be alone without me, etc. etc.

Fast forward to the post-AA time: now I am a label... I am a "normie". She began to separate herself out of the marriage. Just recently, she said that AA was her family, and that she was "involved" with another member. She has demonized me.

Her AA club is the "feel good" place where no one seems to worry about responsibility.... they all defer to a "higher power". I guess thinking critically is not allowed either. My wife can talk about herself ad-nauseum... she can be as self-absorbed and absorbed into AA activities and members as much as she wants.... who needs the outside world, friends, a husband etc when you have AA??

I attended a few Al-anon meetings at my wife's request... but it seemed all people did was bitch about their lives (some ad nauseum) but since there was no "crosstalk".... it did not seem like anything was being accomplished at all. We just repeated & read passages from the "Big Book".... which sort of creeped me out.... what the heck is this....??? Pseudo-religion? In the name of "Bill" the holy father?????

Anyway.... my wife is leaving me.... her personality is completely different than it had been. I guess it is nice to be surrounded by other AA cult members that take you in, sleep with you, etc. She has no interests, friends, or activities outside of AA... it is AA all day, all night.... all her reading material is AA.... she wears an AA necklace with an AA pendant... has AA tee shirts... she has AA stuff hanging on the walls ("12 steps", various AA things of one sort or the other hanging on the walls).... and I guess she has a lot more in common with her fellow ex-drinkers and dual-diagnosis folks (she is also bipolar) than with her long time husband and former best friend.

The AA Cult has absorbed my wife into its fold.

Is there any hope of her waking up and realizing that AA has "gone too far" in controlling her thinking and life?

Steve D.

Hello Steve,

Thanks for the letter. I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. I don't have any answer that I believe will work to make her wake up and snap clear. I can suggest Steve Hassan's book Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, which has some useful suggestions for getting loved ones out of cults. The book was also discussed here:

But nothing is a guaranteed technique. The problem is, when someone is as far gone and obsessed as your wife, it may take many years for her to grow tired of the A.A. routine and seek something else to fill the void in her life. And whatever obsession catches her fancy next may not include you.

I get the impression from your letter that she becomes sequentially obsessed with one thing after another, seeking to feel fulfilled. First drugs, then cult religion. Then, who knows? It would probably be very helpful to get her to a psychiatrist, but the odds of her going and working on issues and taking her medications are not good.

Sorry to be so depressing. I'm going to forward this letter to Steve Hassan and see if he has anything to add.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

UPDATE: 2013.02.27: Alas, Steven Hassan never replied to the letter, so I can't add anything from him.

From: Stephen B.
Date: January 31 at 1:57pm     (answered 2 Feb.)

Hey I'm just letting you know what a good job you did on your website. After reading it, I realized that what I needed was a psychiatrist, not aa. Thank you so much for freeing my mind.

Now that I have consulted a psychiatrist, I am on track to become a high school teacher. I have gone back to school for my teaching credential. This might not have happened if I was still in the aa rooms. Your work has done more good than you know.


Hi Steven, Thanks for the message. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and feeling better. That brightens my morning. And have a good day.

== Orange

A note: Someone tipped me off that there is a movie on YouTube that satirized Moral Re-Armament back in 1940. It is called "Susan and God", starring Joan Crawford and Fredric March. The uploader divided the movie into 13 segments. One particular segment begins with one of Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group / Moral Re-Armament "house parties". You don't need to watch the whole thing, but the first few minutes are informative. This is the link to part 10:

They hit the nail on the head in so many ways.

  • The condescending attitude towards someone who didn't wish to join the cult: "She's hopeless." And another member sactimoniously proclaims: "Nobody is hopeless."

  • The use of propaganda songs and music to carry the Oxford Group / Moral Re-Armament message. And the simple-minded approach where "a wise horsey" supposedly gives out sage spiritual teachings.

  • Everybody is defective and needs fixing. The singer with the guitar proclaimed that we aren't very nice, and we were just made that way. And we can't change ourselves for the better — not unless we join Frank's group.

  • Which leads right into the use of the propaganda technique called "The Preacher's We": We are defective; We aren't nice; We can't change ourselves for the better. It's much easier to slip accusations through peoples' defenses when you denounce "we" and "us", rather than pointing a finger directly at someone and accusing them.

  • The presumptuousness of people proclaiming that they are Listening to God and Getting Guidance in morning séances.

  • The mandatory hearty cheerfulness.

  • The idea that attending these parties makes people more spiritual.

  • The grandiose assumption that they were "building a decent sort of world", and "remaking the world".


Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 12:20:11 -0700
From: "Bill O."
Subject: Re: Are you still there?

Hello Orange,

I have very much appreciated reading your work. I discovered it when the brainwashing started to wear off after about 9 months. I was a 3 decade drinker and ended up in "highly recommended" voluntary treatment which as it turns out was "very intense" AA indoctrination. One of the most frustrating things now is having a brain again and being told not to get too clever. Thanks for all the reading recommendations and website links.

I knew there was more than one answer and something else was wrong. I was just starting to figure it out when reading your online book verified what I had been discovering on my own. My initial doubts really surfaced during an H and I session i was doing and I realized I could not in all honesty and integrity proselytize the AA program to anyone. Anyway, thanks again for your work.

I would imagine you are inundated with email, but I thought I'd give it a shot just in case you are still answering mail.


Hi Bill,

Thanks for the note. And yes, I'm still around, and shall post some more letters in a while.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Mon, February 2, 2009 9:51 pm     (answered 6 Feb.)
From: "Bill O."
Subject: RE: Are you still there?

Hello again Orange,

I hope this is not too rambling or long, but I need to tell this story to someone who understands. Today I came home from work and collected all my AA literature, books and study notes, which I will now recycle. All the other books (your recommendations and others) on addiction that I've read will be donated to the local library. Alcohol is no longer a part of my life. I have no desire to drink and I feel fully recovered (contrary to what I hear at the meetings) I know now that booze is not an option for any reason.

I, like some of your other letter writers thought that sticking around AA for the newcomers was valuable, but after my last experience I'm through. Those of us who do feel that we are recovered and in control of our drinking are apparently a threat to the group. My last meeting experience was not ugly or mean-spirited, but it was as if I had blasphemed so horribly that interaction with me would have been dangerous. Comments followed about the the futility of thinking of yourself as recovered. I am very discouraged with the narrow mindedness of even the nicest people I have met when it comes to the idea of getting a life and moving on. So, as I have my life back now, I am now moving on.

As I mentioned in a previous email, Your web site provided an important outlet for my confusion and frustration. What is really disconcerting is that there are probably many people who would benefit from interaction with others and their ideas, not associated with AA, but will not find them. I know I would have.

During my involvement in AA over the last year and a half, I never experienced any of the horror stories shared by others in your letters section. I did experience through reading a lot of non-AA literature, a great strengthening of my own personal beliefs and convictions which became incompatible with much of the AA philosophy. Expression of this personal and intellectual growth was rarely well-received, as you are well aware.

I could also never buy into the Bill W. comparison. I tried, but I've always been a decent honest guy. The only thing I ever lied about was alcohol. I've a had a good job and reputation for 30 years. I just could not wrap my head around life without booze, at least until my addiction got so bad I had to ask for help. I did not feel the need for a religious conversion or a new social group, I just wanted to be sure I was not going to drink again like I used to. As I have now learned, sobriety has little to do with AA and much more to do with my personal decision to live my life free of alcohol. Perhaps the message is more profound to me because I did struggle to find it myself.

It seems I have blown off enough steam, so I will close. Once again I extend my thanks for all the work you have put out there for those of us searching out our own answers apart from the confusion and intellectual bigotry of AA.


Hi again, Bill,

Thanks for the letter. That says a lot. It's good to see people recovered and getting on with their lives.

So have a good life, and a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  A 2003 study by the American Psychological Association found:
**  "that conservatism can be explained as a set of beliefs and
**  behaviors that result from a psyche controlled by fear,
**  aggression, closed-minded dogmatism, and intolerance of
**  ambiguity, compounded by mental rigidity and decreased
**  cognitive complexity [dumbness]."
**     == Robert Weitzel, The Trouble With The Entire World
*     Is A Guy Named Ron,
**   Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
**  And the same seems to be true of the fundamentalists
**  and true believers of any cult or religion.

Date: Tue, March 11, 2008 11:46 pm     (answered 2 Feb. 2009)
From: "James K."
Subject: Just another letter.


Have been reading over site. Recently checked out you Top 10 Reading List. Thought you might want to know about the book Captive Hearts, Captive Minds. I found it a good read. Also, have read Steven Hassan's first book and his second book is in shipment to me now.

By the way, I have been in AA for 26 years, was involved with a sponsorship type cult for 4 years. I had to find my way back to sanity on my own and have been traveling on that journey for 22 years. I don't mean to imply that I haven't had help because I have had lots of help, the point is that I had to put the effort forth and seek out the help. I found that the one of the best ways for me to "break the ties that bind" is to use AA's own literature for ammo. I have found books such Steven Hassan's and other information on cults very helpful also. I still attend AA meetings — selectively. I have sought other avenues of recovery and spirituality too. I know there are many tools in the world to help people with all sort of issues and I openly encourage other to seek out and utilize those tools in the best way they see fit. I know I will never be able to change A.A. or the worlds view of addition, but, I know that my quiet ranting at meetings has help others to reach and seek what ever help they need outside of A.A. without negative emotional consequence from inside A.A. My life is good. In a way we both do the same thing, face the wrongs we see and try change them with the best tools we have — you and I just have different tools.

As, for your website, I thought I was fairly knowledgeable of A.A. history — wrong. Your site has given me much new insight into A.A. history, especially the actual old letters and documents! As for your interpretations and presentation of the facts, well I probably agree with you about 50% of the time. But, I will most likely never buy any thing or any one point of view whole hog again! I have some guiding principles that I have figured out over the years that help me. They are as follows:

  • 1. Learn to think for yourself or else someone will think for you.
  • 2. Seek to know what you believe and why you believe it.
  • 3. Question everything.
  • 4. The only test I use is this: Is it adding to or subtracting from my life?
  • 5. If all of us were the same only one of us would be necessary.

Wishing you truth and wisdom,

Jim K.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the letter. I just stumbled across it in the backlog of email, so I'm putting it online now.

I'm glad to hear that you are free and doing well. 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

P.S.: The book is Captive hearts, captive minds : freedom and recovery from cults and abusive relationships, Madeleine Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich. Alameda, CA : Hunter House, c1994. Dewey 616.891 T629c ; ISBN 0897931459 (hardcover) , 0897931440 (paperback).
Janja Lalich used to co-write anti-cult books with Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer.

The following three letters came in at about the same time, and coincidentally they all talk about Washington County, Oregon, which is the county immediately to the west of Portland, Oregon. The Washington County legal system has a less than stellar reputation. Washington County is the home of some very large corporations like Intel and Nike.

Date: Sat, January 24, 2009 2:50 pm
From: "Eric R."
Subject: Washington County, Oregon


The county openly promotes AA/NA/CA/ and any and all anonymous affiliates in their tax payer funded "treatment" program, no surprise there.

What is also no surprise is the fact in room 105-J in the county court house is a big copy of the twelve steps from AAWS. This is exactly the same as displaying a copy of the ten commandments in a court house lobby, a clear violation of the establishment clause of the 1st amendment. I see no legal reason for a copy of the twelve steps to be displayed in a space paid for with public funds period. I would love to see that poster removed from that room by a federal court order. The Inouye ruling is a solid case against such government promotion of the cult called AA/NA in it's many forms. Now they will "sponsor" yet another anonymous cult called Dual Diagnosis Anonymous. The treatment community is over the top with the promotion of the cult as you well know. I am sick of this maskarade of AA being anything a sham cult Christian promotion of faith. Washington County needs to be sued in a federal court over this cult promotion of "treatment". With the track record of the "treatment" it is a sham and danger to those forced to attend it. An example needs to be made of this cult promotion here in Oregon once and for all. I for one will be contacting the ACLU about this display in room 105-J.

Sober without AA thankyou!

Date: Sat, January 24, 2009 6:50 pm
From: "Eric R."
Subject: MRT (moral reconation therapy) read moral rearmament dressed up by a couple of shrinks.

Orange, here's another clue about a program called MRT, I'm sure you have heard of it. In any case Washington County Oregon seems to think that alcohol and drug use are symptoms of a lapse of morality and a cause of the disease of addiction, (yeah right, sure what ever you say B.S). These people who are the "treatment staff" are the most dishonest liars and out and out cheats I have ever met. Of course they all back each other up with their phony credentials and certifications, and each one is in "recovery" of course. The thing is, most long ago quit doing what ever it was they were doing, and simply can't leave the cocoon they live in sheltered in, hiding from the real world we all have to deal with each day. Pretty it isn't always, but it is real, which is better then living inside of a fantasy world of "recovery" and getting paid for it. They don't earn an honest pay check, they steal it by fostering a program that is harmful to those forced into it. We all have our troubles in life, but AA isn't the answer these treatment people say it is. It's pure crackpot lunacy from a man whose soul (pun intended) intention was to open up a publishing business, now called AAWS, it sure paid his bills didn't it? AA was always a business plan from the looks of the 100 man stock prospectus details. A for profit one at that, not a non profit corporation as it is today. I for one would love to a real accounting of the books of AAWS and it's spin off chapters.

Moral Reconation Therapy is a huge ripoff copy of AA. The last page of their treatment manual says it all, "state of grace", and artistic references to the bible, easter lillies, palm fronds, candle stick with a candle lit, and a copy of what is obviously a bible rendered as a page dress up suggestion of what MRT is really all about, get religion now while we can still "save" you. This MRT manual is a monstrosity of psychobabble religion by the two authors, both Ph.d's and their captive audience is all in the "corrections system" which is anything but corrective. It's more like a system of how to cook meth 101.1 and the system is a college of higher education for speed freaks, none of which I am... This treatment "program" is pure B.S. it doesn't work, failure rate of 75 to 80% by their own numbers, which of course they never tell the real numbers to who ever writes the checks for the program, it simply doesn't work.

Oh well as you say, have a good day!

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the letters. I had not realized that Washinton County had such a bad program for handling drug and alcohol problems, and here it is right next door to Portland.

Coincidentally, another letter about Washington County just came in, within days of yours, here.

And yes, have a good day. And suing sounds like a fine idea. Have you talked to the ACLU?

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** An alcoholic is a fellow who is "trying to get his
** religion out of a bottle... when what he really wants
** is unity within himself, unity with God...."
** "There is a definite religious element here."
**  ==  Bill Wilson at the Shrine Auditorium in
**     Los Angeles, in March, 1943

Date: Wed, February 4, 2009 3:26 pm     (answered 6 Feb.)
From: "Gavitti"
Subject: Thank you


First off — Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of all of us out here who find the whole AA/NA recovery machine revolting. Your site is a real psychological reinforcement for those of us who were pretty sure our nonconformist ideas weren't crazy but had a hard time finding anyone that agreed with us.

I wanted to share story.

A few years back I knew it was time to stop getting loaded. I was starting to raise a family, wanted to set a better example for my daughter and honestly was just tired of it. I was done. My wife at the time sadly was not.. she chose dope over marriage. Both of our lives started to fly apart, legal problems ensued, one thing led to another and I found myself on probation and in the position of having to volunteer to go to treatment or losing contact with my daughter in an ugly divorce. I really had no idea what "treatment" was but a local attorney who specialized in drug/alcohol cases suggested I comply. During the process of trying to find a treatment facility my time to report to the court expired, my ex turned me into my PO and boom,........ I was now going to do treatment in custody. Now the Washington County, Oregon treament facility is probably one of the nicest places to be incarcerated. You get your own clothes, carpeted floors, seconds on food every other day and an outside smoke break every two hours. We called the place " Camp Snoopy". However the treatment system is pure 12 step bullsh*t being shoved down your throat 24/7. You eat it, breath it and sleep with it or you do not progress though the program. At any point, if you are not spouting the correct and proper 12 step Dogma, you can get held back 1 — 30 days, or simply sent to jail (which happened to 4 of my fellows during my stay). I had some immediate issues and questions about the program that I soon learned not to address to anyone in authority. The constitutional issue of the state forcing a religious program on citizens as a condition of custody came to mind first. (You either believe and participate in our program or you go to jail.) Unqualified, non-medical personnel making medical diagnosis and recommendations also came to mind. (You're a junkie, nothing stronger than aspirin for you, and what kind of allergy meds do you have there, we don't care if they're prescription, you shouldn't take them.) Was this a cult? It sure seemed like one to me. Does it work? Nope, even the people teaching it say it has a 95% failure rate. I very quickly learned that the whole program was simply a huge indoctrination process for the 12 step way of life,... and as much as I hated it, I also learned to talk the talk, because I wanted the hell out of there as fast as I could make it.

Then one day my time was up, I had been a good boy and run the gauntlet in proper form. I had one last step — more or less an exit interview with my counselor and PO. At that point they informed me that it would really help my case if (translation: we'll let you go when...) I lived in clean and sober housing for a while (6 months was suggested) they said as soon as I found " acceptable" housing I could go. I found a cool place down by the Willamette river here in Portland that I thought would be a nice place to chill out, get my life back in order and move on... I thought the only conditions for this place would be, "don't get loaded while you live here" but NOoooooo! It was 12 step hell all over again. 4 meetings a week, mandatory volunteering, etc, etc.... The only qualification for the two guys that ran the house were that they were former drunks and junkies,.. nothing else,... and some very large foundations threw money at them for all of this... After 7 months of living there I finally moved out... I was done.

The farther I got away from the treatment/recovery community and experience the more I questioned their means and methods. I figured someday I'd find time do a little research about addiction,recovery and treament industry. When I finally got into looking around the information scared me more than anything. I found it eerie that an entire industry could exist and be supported by a program that has absolutley no scientific or medical basis. Billions are being spent by every arm of our government on programs that make the public feel warm and fuzzy but accomplish nothing. Why more people don't see this is amazing to me but it's happening right in front of us every day.

When I found your site it was like, "holy sh*t!" there are other people out there that don't buy into the AA/NA, treatment industry BS. Up until that time I thought I was either crazy or just missing something, probably some leftovers from treatment (I can't be right, my thinking is stinking.!!) I think I've read about every page of your site over the last 6 months... more than once I've been impressed with how thorough and well documented every piece of information on the site is.

Today I live a pretty good life. I've started two new businesses and one is actually making money. I have everything I need in life and a lot of the stuff I want. Finding your site has reinforced that all of that is simply OK.

Keep up all of you good work — there's a world of people out there that need to see it.

Take care

Hello Gavitti,

Thank you for the letter. It's a real eye-opener to learn what has been going on right next door in Washington County. I also got two other letters from another fellow who is talking about the enforced religion of Washington County, here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Thu, April 3, 2008 8:07 am     (answered 7 Feb 2009)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Question

I am sort of involved with someone currently going thru AA. He was told that he couldn't have sex or get involved with anyone for 1 year. What's the reason behind this? I have looked everywhere and can't seem to find an answer. Any thoughts?


Hello Anonymous,

Sorry to take so long to answer your letter. It got misplaced, and I just found it. Unfortunately, your year is almost up, either way.

The A.A. commmandment that you must not get into a relationship for a year is just another A.A. superstition based on no facts at all. And not having sex for a year is pure bullshit.

(Note that the unscrupulous A.A. sponsors do not apply that rule to themselves when they decide to seduce a cute young female newcomer.)

The only shred of truth in that slogan is the idea that a recovering person can make life more difficult for himself if he gets into an intense relationship and it goes sour and they break up. Some people get so depressed from failed relationships that they have a few drinks to console themselves, and that's bad.

But there is no guarantee that a love relationship will go bad. Some go great. Personally, I think that a good relationship can be a big help in staying sober. And the Harvard Medical School found that the support of a good spouse was a great asset for a recovering alcoholic, and actually helped more than Alcoholics Anonymous did.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The Argument from Intimidation is a confession of
**  intellectual impotence.
**    ==  Ayn Rand (1905 — 1982)

Date: Wed, April 2, 2008 10:21 pm     (answered 7 Feb 2009)
From: Argente
Subject: re: your comments and site

I'm appalled that you actually attract poeple to your site..and you sound believebale and people believe in you.
You're a jerk.
And you completely ignore what anyone tells you unless it *is* cult oriented, or anti-12 steps. I'm sick of you misleading everyone who is already confused.
Agent Orange my rear end. If you were in Viet Nam, I was too.
I dare you to print *this*.
Argente T.

Hello Argente,

Sorry to take so long to answer this letter — it got buried and I just found it.

I notice that you didn't supply a single fact to support your allegations that I am misleading confused people. Actually, it is Alcoholics Anonymous that does that. A.A. does not improve the sobriety rate of alcoholics at all, but it raises the death rate.

Oh well, have a good day anyway. And yes, I dare to print your letter.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Outsource executive positions. Surely we can find qualified
** Mexicans and Chinese who will work at jobs like CEO of GM
** for only $150,000 per year. Just think of the savings!
** And they can't do any worse than the current management.

Date: Thu, April 3, 2008 9:39 am     (answered 7 Feb 2009)
From: "Tom R."
Subject: Bill Wilson

Thank you for your writing on Bill W., the primary author of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. I have no issue with whether the things you assert about Bill Wilson were true. I believe, however, that you err when you suggest that discredits the work he did. The fact that, a magnificent God saw the covering of alcoholics and chose to use a vessel of his own choosing says much more about the Author than the vessel.

I have an extensive background in biblical scholarship. However, even a novice cannot miss the clear evidence that many of those whom God had chosen went on to great mistakes!

  • Samson — chose lust over God's will, yet found in Hebrews 11, the heros of faith.

  • Peter — denied Jesus 3 times, still used by God to stand up on Pentecost as representative of the Apostles.

  • Moses — disobeyed God and refused entrance into the promised land-and yet, we do not discard or discredit his writings.

  • Abraham — after chosen of God lied about his relationship with his wife — TWICE!

If there is an overarching truth about the nature of God in relationship to man, it is this: God has factored our stupidity into His plan for our lives.

Does this excuse sin? Of course not. But who among us ever needed an excuse?

Tom R.

Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer it, but it got misplaced and I just found it.

Sorry, but I cannot accept the premise that Bill Wilson was working for God. God would never foist such a heretical fraud on sick people. Jesus Christ said that you shall know them by the fruits of their labors. Well, the fruits of Bill Wilson's labors are that he created a cult that fails to help alcoholics. It just lies to them about helping them, and gets them yammering a whole lot of blasphemous nonsense.

And A.A. is grossly heretical and unChristian. Read the file on The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

A.A. increases the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics, and increases the rate of rearrests for drunkenness, and raises the death rate in alcoholics. And I believe that a good case can be made that A.A. also increases the divorce rate and the suicide rate in alcoholics.

That is not a gift from God. (I will leave it to others to figure out whether it is a gift from Satan.)

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [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."

Date: Wed, February 18, 2009 2:06 pm     (answered 19 Feb.)
From: "Juanita P."
Subject: "Tom R" can't really have much of an "extensive" background in biblical scholarship

I read over your letters on a regular basis. I think you've done great work with your site. I'm sure you don't want to turn your "letters" pages into a forum for religious debate but, I was reading over "Tom R"'s letter and his claim to "extensive background" in biblical scholarship is belied by the facts he presents. I guess I felt compelled to write a rebuttal because, once again, it shows the extent a 12-stepper will go to lie in order to preserve their religion. I also used to study the bible for many hours a day. I'm no longer Christian, but here's what the Bible really has to say about the facts he presents:

Samson — chose lust over God's will, yet found in Hebrews 11, the heroes of faith. Samson proved his genuine repentance by giving his life to destroy God's enemies. Bill Wilson never came anywhere close to any such sacrifice either materially, spiritually, emotionally or spiritually. Bill Wilson never was in any way the man Samson was.

Peter — denied Jesus 3 times, still used by God to stand up on Pentecost as representative of the Apostles. Peter denied being an associate of Jesus because of a valid fear he'd be seriously harmed. He did not deny that Jesus was the Christ. Peter's repentance was genuine. He never made that mistake again. His repentence is also evidenced by the fact that DURING PENTECOST he was very vocal before the WHOLE WORLD about his belief in Jesus. Bill deliberately chose to engage in narcissistic behavior that harmed people over and over again. He never genuinely changed as evidenced by his nasty, consistent 13th stepping habit.

Moses — disobeyed God and [was] refused entrance into the promised land-and yet, we do not discard or discredit his writings. Those writings were never Moses' in the first place. He didn't write those things, God did. According to the bible, God directly wrote on the tablets himself. He did not use Moses to write on the tablets.

Abraham — after chosen of God lied about his relationship with his wife — TWICE!

I suppose this depends on what one calls a lie. There are, of course, "lies of omission". However, Sarah, WAS Abraham's sister. His half-sister, to be exact. He didn't tell the ruler of the land that Sarah was also his wife because, in that day and time, to do so may have cost him his life so that the ruler could take his NOTORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL wife. Oh, and before someone jumps on Abraham for incest, the fact is there were no laws against marrying a close relative in Abraham's day. Some biblical scholars have suggested that this may be because it took 100's of years since Adam's fall from grace (perfection) for human genetics to get frail enough to cause problems from such intermarriage.

Anyway, that's my two-cents worth. Nice to see one more 12-stepper pushing lies to defend Bill Wilson and his kooky religion. I don't know where he got his "biblical scholarship" from, but he couldn't have possibly made those mistakes if he'd actually ever read the Bible itself.

Hello Juanita,

Thanks for the input. That's good. And that certainly skewers his argument.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very
**  short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.'
**  And God granted it."  Voltaire (1694-1778)

May 22, 2008: In the park, Day 5.

These are two more of the beautiful people who just stopped by to see the goslings. These little goslings are the greatest ice-breakers in the world.

friends of goslings

The goslings are nesting and resting between us. They have no fear of the new friends who just showed up. Rather, they actually seek out their company. I am not in the picture because I am holding the camera. I'm sitting on the ground across from this fellow. The goslings placed themselves right between us so that we could protect them from any predators who might come along. It's just natural gosling behavior. They always seek the protection of the center of a circle of adults.

goslings resting with people

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Wed, January 14, 2009 7:15 pm     (answered 20 Feb.)
From: "allan o."
Subject: letter sent to FB page with a couple new questions

I was having trouble sending this to your site so I sent to FB [Facebook], remembered you don't check it much so tried the site again... the problem was on my end. I added some new stuff at the end so don't delete if you read the FB one!

Hi again, Alan. Okay, not deleted.

Happy New Year!

Yeh, you too.

I just had a thought: what do you think about creating a section on your site for 'professional support' or something along those lines? I notice a frequent criticism from steppers is the 'lack of support from licensed professionals', etc.. I also noticed you have received some letters from some of the more rational professionals in the field.

That would be interesting. I'm also looking into just setting up a forum or bulletin board system of some kind. A bunch of people have requested that.

I bet if there was a space created (even if it was just a section for you to place letters from professionals who support you) that people like me would contribute. Actually, I haven't come across too many people like me, i.e. licensed professionals, former steppers, who are outspokenly critical and call it for what it is: a religious cult. Most counselors who are not true believers, seem to lamely indirectly support AA by default. One of them just told me the other day: "It is cultish but some people need it and it does provide help for some."

She is an otherwise good therapist and someone I respect. My guess is that many people like her just haven't looked that far into 12-step ideology and are indifferently accepting of it, I think because it has become part of the fabric of our society. Familiarity. My guess would be that if I presented AA ideas to this therapist in a time and place where there was no AA, she would tell me they are crazy. I bet a lot of therapists who 'accept' AA would not accept it at all if they were hearing it for the first time in this day and age.

She asked me if I agreed with her and I said no. She looked askance. I told her that you can't have it both ways. You can't say it's "cultish" but also say that it's a benign support club. She feels that the social aspects have merit and I know you have found that to be one of AA's good points. I would only agree with that very lightly and with a few qualifiers.

  • 1. Any social support value is highly dependent on the type of meeting and the people in it. As you know as well as I, meetings can vary greatly from meeting to meeting.
  • 2. The social values are nil if the club is spouting rigid, harmful and self-defeating ideology.
  • 3. The irony is that, in my opinion, any true social value would most likely come from meetings where they don't practice/adhere/preach the true nature of AA.

All I can say is, "Yes."

Btw, I read that you are a guitar player. Me too. I have two Gibson acoustics these days, one mahogany, one rosewood. I agree, that music has provided me a tremendous amount of indirect therapeutic benefit. That, and a physically demanding activity/hobby. I am frequently recommending patients pick up a challenging hobby, preferably something physical if they are able to, health-wise. For the past year or so, I've been doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which is demanding, to say the least. The only drawback is most of the guys I train with are 10 to 20 years younger! I never really felt 40 until I hit the mats, so to speak. I'm thinking about going on an Advil drip. Haha.

Ah, rosewood. Love it. I have an acoustic Martin D16R, all rosewood. It has just fantastic tone. A dream guitar. And those Gibsons are dream guitars too.

Alas, I'm not doing any physical training — not like judo. I have to be very careful with my bones, as I have osteopenia (like osteoporosis) pretty bad. Bones in my feet have broken three times in the last six years, just from walking up the street. No sports, no running, no touch football, just skipping down the stairs or walking up the street. Crack!

So doing Jiu Jitsu would be very foolish for me.

I have heard that osteoporosis is yet another one of the conditions that alcoholism can cause. That may explain how I came up with such an odd-ball condition.

One of many things I am wondering about as I wade through the reams of letters you get. Do you receive mail from steppers that you DON'T post because it is too hateful, profane, etc? It is remarkable, how few rational debates the true believers make. The most rational, or at least not hate/condescension filled, debates seem to come from the more laissez-faire members.

I almost never censor the email. True-believer A.A. members routinely call me things like a sack of motherfuckers and I publish it. It's no big deal. (Actually, I kind of enjoy showing what their "serene and grateful spirituality" amounts to.) I'm hard-pressed to think of a letter that I had to censor. There are a few incoming letters that I don't bother to publish because it's just the same person sending the same rant over and over again, but just a very tiny few.

Mainly, things go unpublished just because I am so backlogged in answering and publishing letters. I still have stuff that is up to two years old that I don't know if I will ever get to. When I moved two years ago, I fell behind and I never got caught up. So there is a lot of unpublished stuff, but it isn't censored. It's almost random luck whether something gets published or not.

Anyway, I only make the suggestion of a 'professional' section, thinking it might give steppers one less thing to attack you for. I'm certainly not suggesting it because I think you need any help defending yourself. You do that quite well. Hope you enjoyed the holidays.

I'll think about it. That could be a thread or section on a forum. Of course, the next problem is, how do you figure out if someone is actually a professional? I've already had quacks or fakes writing to me, claiming to be real doctors, so that they would sound more impressive as they promoted Alcoholics Anonymous.


p.s. I was reading Dick B's analysis of early AA differences between the NY group and the Akron group. He claims that the Akron group, which he says was something of a bible study group had a significantly higher recovery rate (he says 75% thereabouts) than the NY group. He also claims that official AA history tends to ignore that in favor of the NY groups non-bible beginnings.

Do you know anything about that? Have you heard, come across anything that supports his assertion?

He seems to be very, very well researched/informed on AA history. While I certainly don't agree with his overall AA views, he seems a like a legit/honest source and seems to be a bit critical of the NY groups 'departure' from the bible. What do you think?

Yes, I like Dick B. for his careful historical research. Unfortunately, I think he is taking the grandiose claims of those enthusiastic Oxford Groupers in Akron too seriously.

That's what the Akron group was, more so than Bill Wilson's group in New York — true believer Oxford Group members. Dr. Bob and his fellow alcoholics remained in the Oxford Group for years more than Bill Wilson did, and Dr. Bob was not the leader of the Akron chapter of the Oxford Group. When the alcoholics finally split from the Oxford Group, all that they did was rename their group. They still practiced Buchmanism and followed all of the Oxford Group practices and recuiting techniques, and still parrotted the same slogans.

The Oxford Group routinely played the numbers game, and claimed far more members than they really had, and implied that everyone who attended just a few meetings was a committed member who wholy endorsed Frank Buchman and his doctrines. And then they did the same thing with alcoholics. When they succeeded in drying out Russell Firestone, the prodigal son of the tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone, the Oxford Group claimed that they were the new salvation of alcoholics, with a never-fails cure (if you follow the program right).

And that is in fact how the Oxford Group got established in Akron. Harvey Firestone was so grateful for the Oxford Group sobering up his son that Harvey sponsored a big convention/revival for the Oxford Group in Akron, which resulted in the creation of a long-lasting Akron chapter of the Oxford Group that Dr. Bob joined. Unfortunately, Russell Firestone soon went back to drinking.

All of those claims of great success are biased by the usual stunts:

  1. Cherry-picking — recruiting only those alcoholics who are ready to quit today, and willing to get down on their knees before Dr. Bob and "make a surrender". Only recruiting that kind of alcoholic reduces the failure rate a lot.

  2. Observational selection — counting the successes and ignoring the failures. "Those drunks didn't try hard enough. They didn't pray enough. They weren't Maximum. They didn't make a complete surrender. They didn't follow the program right. They didn't Keep Coming Back to enough meetings. So they don't count — they weren't really members — so we won't count them and let them pull down our averages."

  3. Unverified numbers — Just because a few guys in a meeting say they haven't had a drink in years doesn't prove it.

  4. Assumption of a cause-and-effect relationship, plus claiming undue credit — Just because some guy quits drinking and then goes to some Oxford Group or Alcoholic Anonymous meetings does not prove or even indicate that the meetings made him quit drinking. That ignores all of the other (real) causes, like the desire to stop suffering and being so sick all of the time, and the desire to save a job or marriage, or the desire for a better quality of life, or just the desire to not die.

  5. No follow-up — Did they ever revise their numbers when they discovered that their poster-child sober alcoholics had gone back to drinking? I don't think so. (The first-edition Big Book story writers who relapsed had their stories silently removed from the second edition, without a word of explanation or correction.)

  6. Wild exaggeration and outright lying — The Oxford Group was notorious for exaggerating and lying about everything else, so I don't see why they wouldn't also lie about their success rate in sobering up alcoholics.

Francis Hartigan was Lois Wilson's private secretary. He wrote a book about Bill Wilson that said:

We have to wonder why both the Wilsons and the Smiths did not simply give up. Today the nation's best alcoholism treatment centers report success rates ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent. During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big Book, published in 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many of AA's earliest members. Some years later, Bill made notations in the first copy of the book to come off the press, indicating which individuals portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50 percent of them had not.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

So Bill's wife's secretary Francis Hartigan reported that Bill and Bob had only a 5% success rate in Akron, and then half of their success stories relapsed? That kind of conflicts with the 75% success rate claims.
(More on that here.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or
**  have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from
**  accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.
**    ==  Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith,
**     writing in "The Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous,
**     page 181 of the 3rd & 4th Editions.

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Last updated 26 April 2013.
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