Letters, We Get Mail, CLXIV
by A. Orange

Date: Tue, March 16, 2010 2:26 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: Bruce
Subject: Too Much Work

Undoubtedly you and whatever staff you have are highly overworked. Some of that I'm sure is due to budget constraint read about two hours of your on-line sites. I cannot determine who you are or what occurred in the past to promote your feelings, but you do what you must. Unfortunately the blog responses have been deleted. You are probably aware of that. Hope to read more. Much is disturbing never hearing that AA was a cult. How many groups out of hundreds of thousands are like that? Clean house brother.


Hello Bruce,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I'm overworked. (There is no "staff", just me.)

For who I am, and what prompted my feelings, see the list here.

I don't know what blog you are referring to, where my responses were deleted. My responses get deleted a lot, and so do the responses of other people who dare to criticize the 12-Step orthodoxy. Steppers are not very good at tolerating criticism, and they definitely don't want to hear the truth. So they erase things that they don't want you to know. Steppers vulch on Wikipedia, for instance, and anything that they don't like is editted out in an hour or so.

Yes, it is disturbing to hear that A.A. is a cult. I was very surprised myself. I started off thinking that A.A. was the biggest and best self-help group in the USA. It came as a bit of a shock to discover that "it ain't necessarily so". It was rather disgusting to see that sick people were getting quackery and superstition from criminals and mentally-ill people, rather than anything resembling good medical treatment.

Which groups are like that? Well, apparently, a lot. I don't have the entire list, but you can start with Mike Quinones' Midtown Group and Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group.

And then there are stories about the Phoenix Young People's A.A., and groups in Minneapolis, and Bainbridge Island, Washington.

So click on those links to read more about them.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands
**       of fools.  Let's start with typewriters.
**         ==  Frank Lloyd Wright  (1868—1959)

Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 7:10 pm     (answered 31 May 2010)
From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Too Much Work

It helps to be a speed reader. Thanks for the updates. You my friend have found a quite unique means of securing "Recovery". Whatever works I always say. I'm probably not the first "sex addict" who has read any orange, but it makes a few of us comfortable in knowing that whatever you do TAKES TIME. Doing anything that lesson the power of the drug that desires to control us is great. Keep it up. Keep looking for other programs. There are dozens of them. Not all are 12-step. Some definitely are religious (not cult), but they don't judge nor hide that fact. We are weal when we try to control our addict on our own...without some knowledge or help or prayer or surrender. Would you agree?

I'm in Chicago. Perhaps some day we meet in person. I applaud your work because it keeps you sober. You could not write what you have otherwise.

Bruce Y

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the response. I wish you luck on your journey.

You know, doing this web site isn't really what keeps me sober. What does it is things like going outside, and feeling the air and sun on my skin, and inhaling, and my lungs don't hurt. Then I can feel my body move, and it's a healthy body, with the muscles and tendons moving smoothly (even if the joints are getting a little old and sore now).

And then, because I am so healthy, I have to move. I can't just sit around, doing nothing. So I go outside, and walk down to the river, and see the geese, and feed the cute baby goslings, who joyously come running when they see me, because they know that I bring them goodies. And I watch the river flow by, and see the clouds floating across the sky, and take in the whole cityscape... And feel the sun, hot on my skin.

I wouldn't trade that for all of the beer in Portland.

And then there is waking up without a hangover. Waking up without that little voice asking, "How much longer do you think you can keep on doing this, and being this sick, before you die?"

(And the answer being, "Oh, about 3 years.")

I just have zero desire to go back to that kind of suffering.

And then there is just the clarity. My mind is clearer than it has been in a lot of years, and I don't want to give that up and go back to being cloudy-headed, or foggy. Just one night of drinking would take the edge off of the clarity for a long time. It has taken 9 years to get this clear, and I think I'll keep it.

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought;
**     our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
**         ==  Dr. Johnson

Date: Tue, March 16, 2010 1:47 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "Alex C."

you've spent so much time on this slaying of AA. I'm fascinated to hear your solution.

Hello Alex,

We have talked many times about what works, and what has helped people to quit drinking or drugging. Here is a list, and here is another.

But please note that there is no magic "solution". The idea that there is a "solution" (Bill Wilson's word) is a myth that A.A. has been spreading for 70 years now: "Just do these 'spiritual' Steps, and 'Work A Stong Program', and Hey Presto-Chango! Abra-Cadabra! You will quit drinking."

But the truth is that you really have to quit drinking yourself. Nobody can or will do it for you.

But, of course, then they say, "You have to do all of the work yourself. The Program won't do it for you. The reason that the Steps didn't work is because you didn't thoroughly follow our Path."

So A.A. doesn't really offer a solution either. The idea that A.A. has "a Program" that "works" is just a bait-and-switch trick:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Powerful indeed is the empire of habit.
**        ==  Syrus  (42 B.C.)

Date: Wed, March 17, 2010 11:55 am     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "ryan w."
Subject: the orange papers

Based on your writings on your website, you will do your best to shoot this email to pieces and be on with your day. You don't know what you're talking about. The problem with AA isn't that the 12 Steps don't work, it's that people don't do any of them. I agree completely that people come in and out and relapse all the time. These are the people who didn't do any of the work involved. I have sponsored several people and lead them through the work of the 12 Steps and had a %100 success rate. Every single person that went through all 12 Steps and did them thoroughly are still clean and sober today. Every single one. The only people that relapsed are the ones who came in, asked me to sponsor them, I tell them what to do, then they don't do any of it. You're a narrow minded fool, I don't like you personally. Your examples are (what I could force myself to read) are over-simplified and just plain stupid. Just because the court system pumps somebody through AA who doesn't even want to be there and they don't magically get sober after one meeting, doesn't give you the right to spew idiocy on your crappy website.

Get bent, your writing sucks.


Ryan W, hard core heroin addict clean for 6 years thanks to God and the Steps.

Hello Ryan,

Congratulations on your 6 years off of heroin. That is good. I hope you stay with it.

Now, about your claim that "The problem with AA isn't that the 12 Steps don't work, it's that people don't do any of them."

Wow. There seems to be a strong echo in here. The same subject came up in the previous letter, here.

The problem is, even if you do the Steps, you still don't get cured. It's a bait-and-switch trick: First a cure, and then no cure. First, the story is that the Twelve Steps will work and make you quit drinking or drugging, and then you have to quit drinking and drugging to "Work The Steps" properly.

Your insistence that people must "Work the Steps" properly, or else, makes it another bait-and-switch trick, too: First, they will tell you that the Twelve Steps are only suggested as a program of recovery, but then you hear the slogan "Work The Steps Or Die".

And what about all of the people who faithfully work the steps and then get so depressed that they commit suicide? Like this story.

It is good that you have several sponsees that have quit heroin. But such anecdotal evidence does not in any way prove or even indicate that doing the 12 Steps to Frank Buchman's religion actually cause people to quit addictions. Your story just proves that you were able to collect half a dozen people who really wanted to quit heroin — people who were willing to do just about any silly thing to succeed in quitting — people who were willing to "go to any length" to succeed. Those are the people who are highly motivated to quit and stay quit, so of course they did the best.

What about the judge telling them that he would put them back in prison if they didn't stay clean? Don't you think that had something to do with it?

What about marriages saved, or children reclaimed?

What about the expense of a drug habit, and the shame, and nightmarish junkie environment?

What about the desire to not die that way?

That's the problem with such claims that the 12 Steps work. You are ignoring all of the other facts, and just trying to give the credit for successes to the 12 Steps.

You are also ignoring the obvious fact that when the other people decided to go back to heroin, they didn't do the steps any more. And you then complained that they weren't doing the Step work right. Then you convinced yourself that they went back to heroin because they didn't work the Steps, which is reversing the cause-and-effect chain.

Oh, and there is one other big hole in your logic: You never counted those junkies who successfully kicked the habit without any 12-Step nonsense. There are lots of them — more than the number of junkies who quit with the 12-Step program. But you are ignoring them. They prove that the 12-Step hocus-pocus routine is unnecessary.

Now, you accused me of simple-mindedness. I have just one simple question for you: Can you explain how doing the strange practices of Frank Buchman's pro-Nazi cult will cause junkies to quit shooting heroin?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       When God is planning ruin for a man, He first deprives him of his reason.
**          == Author Unknown

Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 8:02 pm
From: "ryan w."
Subject: Re: the orange papers

You're the most full of shit person I've ever heard. Seriously dude, get a life.
Fuck you,

Date: Fri, May 28, 2010 10:01 am     (answered 31 May 2010)
From: "ryan w."
Subject: Re: the orange papers

okay I read your bullshit. Wow, I must be really lucky to be able to pick out the people who "really wanted" to get clean or the ones who would have done it anyway, and it's a really strange coincidence that the ones who did get clean just happen to be the ones who did the work.

Hello again, Ryan,

No, you weren't "lucky". You said that a bunch of your sponsees went back to shooting smack. Only the determined, motivated, abstainers remained to be your faithful sponsees, doing the Steps and parrotting the slogans. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Jesus, you must be one of those dickless liberals sitting around in their mom's basement thinking they're smart. Bait and switch? You really are an idiot. We don't tell anybody they're cured, we tell them they have a daily reprive based on the fact that they change their actions. People like you are why we have a Communist for president.

Well, now I guess we know where you are coming from.

You're unbelievably stupid. I'm not angry, I'm actually stunned that somebody like you actually gets to state their opinion, it's that weak.

Yes, isn't is a shame that America has Freedom of Speech? But I'm sure that you Tea-Baggers will fix that as soon as you can.

Fuckin' loser! What's next for you? Going after the Salvation Army for Bait and Switch to bums? First you can get a job, but then you can't because you didn't do anything we asked you to do! You're so fuckin' weak I can't even describe it. And yes, I guarantee I'm more educated and more intelligent than your dumbass, so get off your little soapbox and find something better to do with your time like eat a box of detergent.

You really have a thing for that Bait-And-Switch page, don't you? You keep mentioning it. Apparently, you know that there is some truth there, and that bothers you.

While you are being so "educated", you still have not presented any actual facts, like the A.A. or N.A. success rates, or failure rates, or suicide rates, or drop-out rates.

Nor have you explained how doing the practices of Frank Buchman's old pro-Nazi Oxford Group cult religion will get junkies to quit shooting heroin.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Temptation laughs at the fool who takes it seriously.
**       ==  The Chofetz Chaim

Date: Wed, June 23, 2010 8:07 pm     (answered 2 July 2010)
From: "ryan w."
Subject: Re: the orange papers

Jesus, leave me alone you fukin' loser. You should really get a life you pathetic piece of shit. Post that on your weak ass site. Way to ride on the back of something legitimate to get noticed dumbass.

Date: Thu, June 24, 2010 5:29 am
From: "ryan w."
Subject: Re: the orange papers

ha ha, your response was totally weak, you don't have an explanation for what I said at all. You just made yourself look like the idiot you are. Keep hiding "Orange" or you might have to answer for your lies.

Date: Mon, March 22, 2010 12:34 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "Em Dot"
Subject: Thanks

Even when I was seven and had just heard about AA, I always felt there was something... off about it. Something that made me uncomfortable and edgy, even though I've never known someone who has gone (or spoken about it). I always chalked it up to being unable to accept that there was nothing religious about a "Higher Power"*, but now I'm fairly sure that it was an innate intuition about what is safe and what is not.

Thank you for the website, it's very enlightening. Albeit long. I'm going to have to spend the next few days/weeks reading through it all.

*I've never understood the atheist cop-out of "use the person you want to be as a Higher Power". I can't comprehend it. Why would I bother to envision the person I want to be telling me what to do, when I can try immediately to be me now? And what happens if my standards change? Some days I fancy an enigmatic mystique, and some days I feel like a raging warrior... I can't give myself a box and still be free. Change is central to who and what I am.

Also, I'm pantheist pagan. What "higher power" do I have? The gods I believe in are individuals with a special connection to and power with/through some force of nature. I've always thought that if you're trying to subjugate yourself and your mind and your will to anything, you immediately have a huge unhealthy problem on your hands.

Hello Em Dot,

Thanks for the letter. I have to agree. And who wants to live in a box? No fun. No thanks.

Oh, and the line, "use the person you want to be as a Higher Power" is especially interesting because Bill Wilson raved endlessly about how we can't be God, and we have to "stop playing God".

First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.
A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

And Ernest Kurtz wrote a book that is worshipped in 12-Step circles, titled "Not God".

And Wilson's indoctrinated followers continue to incant the slogan —

A.A. members agree that while it is not necessary to believe in a personal God, it is important for alcoholics to realize that they themselves are not God! That is, they are not the center of the universe, nor are they running the show.
Drug-Impaired Professionals, Robert Holman Coombs, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. & London, England, 1997, page 217. (Italics in original.)

So I guess your Higher Self can't be your Higher Power.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands.
**         ==  Francis Bacon (1561—1626)

Date: Sun, March 21, 2010 9:30 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: zach
Subject: Why

What's your story? Why fo you hate AA?

— Zach

Hi Zach,

Here's the list.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The illusion that times that were are better than those that are,
**       has probably pervaded all ages.
**         ==   Horace Greeley  (1811—1872)

Date: Fri, March 19, 2010 6:39 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "Kate S."
Subject: Bill Wilson

Do you realise how many thousands (if not millions) of lives have been saved by AA? Do you realise how many people you may have killed by putting them off seeling the help they may have needed thro AA by your irresponsible paper? Did youever read 'Emotional sobriety' written by Bill in which he admits after 21 years he is only just beginning to realise the humility required for good living. Are you a saint yourself?

Hello Kate,

Here we go again. A.A. has not saved millions of lives. In fact, the number is so close to zero that A.A. actually kills more people than it saves. I have answered that grandiose false claim so many times that I'll just point you at some of the previous answers:

  1. AA has saved millions of lives so what do you or anyone else care if its bull crap?

  2. AA has saved millions of lives all over the world.

  3. I can see that you haven't worked the steps or you wouldn't be wasting your time cutting down a program that has saved millions of lives.

Then, your next line was: "Do you realise how many people you may have killed by putting them off seeling the help they may have needed thro AA by your irresponsible paper?"

Wow. You are repeating all of the standard A.A. lines, aren't you? Not an original thought in there anywhere.

Again, since A.A. kills more people than it saves, warning people about A.A. is not killing them.

And again, I've answered that line so many times that I will point you at the list, 'Please realize that your "need" to defame AA may literally kill.'

Bill's "Emotional Sobriety"? You've got to be joking. Bill Wilson was a screaming raving lunatic, who tried to minimize and deny his insane behavior by saying that he was going on "emotional benders".

Bill Wilson wrote that Al-Anon Family Group members spoke at the Alcoholics Anonymous 20th Anniversary convention, parroting Bill's teachings like this:

The Family Group speakers asked and answered plenty of questions like these: "Weren't we just as powerless over alcohol as the alcoholics themselves? Sure we were." "And when we found that out, weren't we often filled with just as much bitterness and self-pity as the alcoholic ever had been? Yes, that was sometimes a fact." "After the first tremendous relief and happiness which resulted when A.A. came along, hadn't we often slipped back into secret and deep hurt that A.A. had done the job and we hadn't? For many of us, it was certainly so." "Not realizing that alcoholism is an illness, hadn't we taken sides with the kids against the drinking member? Yes, we had often done that, to their damage. No wonder then, that when sobriety came, the emotional benders in our homes often went right on and sometimes got worse."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 33.

Humility had nothing to do with it. It wasn't a matter of humility; it was a matter of a narcissistic personality disorder with delusions of grandeur. The self-pitying Bill Wilson claimed that he was "damaged" by his wife Lois calling him a drunken sot. So Bill continued to throw screaming temper tantrums to get his own way.

No, I'm not a saint, but I'm much better than Bill.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He is "obviously brainwashed, although a light rinse would
**     probably have been sufficient. Even worse, it's been Scotchgarded,
**     and is impervious to contamination by any idea which conflicts
**     with his prejudices."
**        ==  walter_map,  May 14th, 2007
**   Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

Date: Sun, June 13, 2010 11:28 pm     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Kate S."
Subject: RE: Bill Wilson

Ah bless you . Think you need to get a job...............

Nothing like a little Stepper condescension, huh? They teach that in A.A., right?

Of course I already have a job, and it's the job you wish I wasn't doing.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nor deem the irrevocable Past
**        As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
**     If, rising on its wrecks, at last
**        To something nobler we attain.
**           ==  Longfellow, The Ladder of St. Augustine

May 17, 2009, Sunday: Day 17, continued:

Canada Goose family with 5 goslings
The "Family of 5"
Remember the family with 5 older goslings that refused to adopt Carmen? Well, they were still around, and they showed up this day.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

From: "Jaime"
Subject: My addiction and cult story and a poem about my struggles...
Date: Fri, March 26, 2010 6:13 pm     (answered 25 May 2010)

"My name is Jaime Banks and I was the victim of coerced 12-Step "treatment" at a Salvation Army "rehabilitation" program in Sarasota, Florida. The following poem is a testament to the emotions I experienced following the realization that I was being forced into a cult. It is also indicative of my general woe over mental health and substance hyper-use issues, and how both are addressed in contemporary America. In addition to forced "treatment", I also spent a short amount of time in jail, and a lot of time on probation, due to my use of cannabis. All of these factors have made indelible impact upon my psyche.

Golden Boy

Your golden boy is
a Borderline train wreck,
dreams lie discarded
like discarded cigarette butts.

Who will redeem
Shall it be...
The Twelve-Step Cult?

inevitable throng
of well meaning family members and friends?
Can the
mentally ill person, once again,
become the eccentric neighbor, the abnormal

Will death put an end to the madness?
Or can life, in it's
gripping sadness,
raise the depraved back up into the light?
Rusted tracks
direct the amok train.

So how, with the furrowed brow
of an American
can we redirect the momentum of inertia,
and deflect the neuroses
of the ostracized masses?

Or shall we rot in iron cages,
banging our lobotomized brains against the bars?
Please give us solitude and
if these mind games are all you have to offer.

I won't
give Kronos my pulse.
I am not Jesus and I don't wish for
Please make leave of the palace,
please make Manson a

For if you are so enamored of
groups which banish wisdom with
so called "love,"
don't contradict yourself.
Cults are a default

Concerning my condition:
my moods, my drinking, my
I've little to declare, the gluttonous nature
is simply
there, though I need not feed it.

Will our turmoil cease?
Will serenity
conquer all?
I hope that is the case,
though I fear I can't make that

Sincerely: Your Friend in Opposing the 12-Step Cult, Jaime Banks"

Hello Jaime,

Thanks for the letter. It says a lot. I hope you do write more.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
**         ==  Mahatma Gandhi

Date: Sun, March 21, 2010 9:03 am &nbps;   (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "Rick M."
Subject: AA and its Effectiveness

I have seen throughout the Internet your bashing of AA with facts you deem as being important by obscure individuals who as they say ( birds of a feather flock together ) . I have been sober in the Fellowship Of Alcoholics Anonymous for 26 years now. I work a simple program of recovery based on the Book Alcoholics Anonymous. I have sponsored men who come into AA and when they they follow the instructions outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, they stay sober and live productive lives NO LONGER living in a life of DIS-EASE from the effects of addictions. The 75% expressed in the Big Book convey to me that when I follow the instructions I am happier, more joyous and freer than I was was when I was in the bondage's of my addictions The percentages you spout are nothing more than generalizations of information that can be twisted in any pretzel shape you wish. I believe what you attempting ( and attempting is giving you way to much credit ) is to put down thru your own prejudices ( for whatever reason ...your issues ) some thing that has saved millions of lives and really asked for nothing in return except to do what we do ANONYMOUSLY, you are trying to compare apples and oranges ( no pun intended ) A spiritual program of recovery with a bunch of numbers and biased opinions. All you have to do is look and listen in AA who has saved people lives and the change in the Fellowship because most people are like sheep, if they don't want to do something and they hear something that fits into their agenda of AVOIDING what is going in their lives ,they will buy it. My experience is that if I come into AA do the simple things suggested in the Book, I will have a change in attitudes and actions which will allow me to recovery from MY seemingly hopeless state of mind and body I came here with 26 years ago

Recovered Alcoholic

Rick M.

Hello Rick,

Thank you for the letter.

It's funny that you believe "the 75% expressed in the Big Book", and then complain that "The percentages you spout are nothing more than generalizations of information". You have it exactly backwards. But that is a common cult characteristic — Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality.

Bill Wilson was flat-out lying when he made up that "75% recovered" number. Specifically, he was lying with qualifiers. Remember the words that came before the 75% number? What Bill Wilson really wrote in 1955, in the Foreword to the Second Edition of the Big Book, page XX, was:

Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement. Other thousands came to a few A.A. meetings and at first decided they didn't want the program. But great numbers of these — about two out of three — began to return as time passed.

The truth is that very few alcoholics qualified — in Bill's mind — as "came to A.A. and really tried". A.A. had a terrible failure rate, and Bill hid the truth by lying with qualifiers. Everybody from Bill's secretary Nell Wing to Lois Wilson's secretary Francis Hartigan reported that A.A. really had a success rate that was only five percent, but Bill Wilson wrote "75%" in the Big Book. He was lying to make his cult sound better.

That whole paragraph is just loaded with weasle words. "Began to return" is another weasle. "Began to return"? Either they really did return, or they didn't. Well, they didn't.

And how could Bill Wilson have possibly kept track of "thousands" of nameless "anonymous" people who only came to one or two A.A. meetings, and didn't like what they saw, and left, only to "begin to return" years later? The answer is, Bill didn't have a computer, and Bill did not keep track of them, so Bill could not compute that "about two out of three — began to return as time passed." Bill was just lying again.

I have discussed the fraud in that quote before, here.

And A.A. has not saved millions, either. The previous letter made the same false claim, so I'll refer you to that discussion, here.

The reason that I express the opinions that I do is because of the facts. The truth is that A.A. is a failure as a cure for alcoholism. It is merely a successful cult that fools millions, just the same as Scientology.

It is not spiritual to lie to sick people about how well a suggested cure really works. Such behavior is despicable. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a spiritual organization.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There's nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.
**         ==  Ansel Adams

Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 8:23 pm     (answered 31 May 2010)
From: "Rick M."
Subject: Re: AA and its Effectiveness

Thank you for reply. I am not going to argue about something that I have seen work time after time. I was a product of medical model therapy and I could not stay clean & sober. As a member of the so-called cult you speak of ,I have been able to put together a life I could not have dreamed of. As for the 75% I have seen it in my AA lifetime, that is a very accurate figure. BTW as someone who has been a part of something and found it wanting as in your personal case I would question who in fact has a closed mind to all principles. As you well know ," there is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation

Namasté. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.

Hello Rick,

It is good that you quit drinking alcohol. That really improves your life, doesn't it?

You are still just assuming a cause-and-affect relationship where none exists.

So you thought about quitting drinking twice. You gave it a half-hearted attempt the first time, and that didn't work. So you got serious about it and really did it on the second attempt. So what? That is the story of millions of people. Most people do it that way.

That has nothing to do with whether you were trying "a medical model" or a cult religion model.

Assuming that the medical model did not work, but A.A. did, is two logical errors:

  1. "It happened after X, so it was caused by X." == Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
  2. Confusion of Correlation and Causation

The proper way to figure out whether a treatment for a disease really works is clinical tests, like Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies. Anecdotal evidence is completely unreliable, and totally worthless.

And that 75% success rate was just one of Bill Wilson's brazen lies. He was Lying with Qualifiers, trying to fool people into thinking that A.A. really worked. We just talked about that. You claim that you see a 75% success rate, but you don't say what qualifiers you are using to get that success rate, like "who really tried", or "who thoroughly followed our path". What is the success rate when you take all of the qualifiers off of the sentence? What success rate do you get with ALL of the alcoholic newcomers in general?

How about this question:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

(HINT: the answers are here.)

Parrotting the "contempt before investigation" misquote in defense of ineffective cult religion quackery is really disingenuous.

By the way, I have thoroughly examined and investigated Alcoholics Anonymous and it's "cure", or "non-cure, but one-day reprieve", and found it wanting. I have contempt after investigation.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up.
**        ==  Jane Wagner

Date: Sun, March 21, 2010 9:27 am     (answered 25 May 2010)
From: "Karl W."
Subject: aa

wow, allot of work just to talk about something you you have never experienced.

Hello Karl,

What is it you think I have not experienced?

Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction? Been there, done that.

Recovery? Been there and done that too.

Cult "spirituality"? Been there and tried that one too. Not my cup of tea.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Underage binge drinking occurs more frequently if child
**     maltreatment such as neglect, physical and sexual abuse
**     is experienced, U.S. researchers said.
**        ==  UPI, March. 4, 2009

Date: Sun, April 11, 2010 11:10 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "sherril w."
Subject: thank

you for your site. I first attended an AA meeting in 1981. Fortunately for me, someone belched over purposefully and at great length during the Lord's prayer. It took me about 7 more years of AA meetings before I found a group in Los Angeles, We Agnostics. There I met Ernie, who burned the Big Book in disgust after a first reading. And Steve who went through and re-wrote his (a trick I hear Thomas Jefferson did with his bible). We Agnostics was (and still is) an AA group, but I think you need a big city to get that lucky.

Two of the members went to Portland. One quit going to AA, the other started a meeting called Rebellion Dogs. Over these past 29 years, I've come to know lots of people who stopped drinking on their own, and who have remained sober after they stopped going to AA meetings. I've got 22 years, and AA did not do shit for me until I found a group of people who 1) did not believe in god (or were at least ambivalent) and 2) did not lie about how fucking wonderful sobriety was.

Your site is hysterical except where the awfulness of AA is too much.

Thanks again.

Hi Sherril,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on all of your years of sobriety. Why you would be one of the High Holy Old-Timers, if you weren't such a heretic... :-)

I'm in Portland, and never heard of the Rebellion Dogs group. I'll have to keep my ears open, and maybe I'll run into them some time.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Christian, n.
**     >> One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely
**      inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs
**      of his neighbor.
**     >> One who follows the teachings of Christ so long as they
**      are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
**        ==  Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Date: Mon, April 12, 2010 3:25 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: Nis J.
Subject: Interpretation of 5M/12-90/TC

Dear Mr Orange

I came across your website, and believe I found a mistake in your interpretation of the document labelled "5M/12-90/TC" on the page http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#AA_dropouts

As I read the document the percentages given are "the proportion of those who are in their first year who are within their nth month". That is, out of 100 people who have been in AA for less than a year, 19 have been there less than a month, 13 between 1 and 2 months etc.

Thus, the correct number for "one year success rate" is around 26% (5/19), not 5%.

I will agree that this is not clear from the graph itself, but if you read the accompanying text, the above interpretation is the only one making sense.

I do believe you have some valid points, and hope you will make corrections to your site to reflect the above.

Best regards,

Nis J.

Hello Nis,

Thank you for the letter. I agree with your first statement, but not the second. That is, other people and I originally interpreted that chart as a longitudinal study, tracking how long people remained in A.A. But it was not a longitudinal study, something done over time. It was just an easy-to-do one-day snapshot picture of the membership with less than a year of membership.

But that snapshot still revealed a huge dropout rate. Look at the further discussion of that chart where somone in the New York A.A. reinterpreted the chart, and then I reinterpreted it again, here

No way does that chart of numbers indicate that 26% of the newcomers are still around at the one-year point. Either way you look at the numbers (correctly), they still reveal a high dropout rate.

And then there is the corroborating evidence. All of the other people who have studied the problem and given numbers also reported the same five percent retention rate (which also happens to be the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics):

  1. Bill Wilson's secretary Nell Wing

  2. Lois Wilson's secretary Francis Hartigan

  3. Dr. George E. Vaillant, a former member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., who spend about 20 years treating alcoholics with A.A., and who also spent 8 years tracking his first 100 patients, trying to prove that A.A. works. He had to conclude that A.A. was completely ineffective and had an "appalling" death rate. He also got a five percent success rate — and it was from normal spontaneous remission, not from the A.A. program. And Dr. Vaillant said so.

  4. Then there is the Chairman of A.A. in Australia. He also reported that they had only a five percent retention rate.

And last but not least, you have your own eyes. If you have been going to A.A. meetings for very long, you know about the revolving-door problem. They come in, they go out, they come in, they go out. If you like the looks of some newcomers, you had better get to know them fast, because they probably won't be around for very long.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

From: Nis J.
Subject: Re: Interpretation of 5M/12-90/TC
Date: Mon, May 31, 2010 1:45 am     (answered 11 June 2010)

Dear Mr Orange

While you agree that your original interpretation was wrong, it is still up there on your website as the first bit of analysis of that report.

You refute your critics by introducing an out-of-nowhere statistic of "first days" attenders, which by coincidence gives the same retention rate as in your original analysis.

This suggests to me that you are constitutionally incapable of being honest, and I will not try to change your mind.

Nis J.

Hello Nis,

I have been reluctant to erase the first interpretation, because it has historical relevance, and has been discussed by both sides many times. The following interpretation by the New York A.A. group is based on it too, and that response would become confusing and irrelevant without the context of the first interpretation.

Still, I suppose I should put an explanatory note there, saying that I have gradually come to the conclusion that the study is a one-day snapshot. I'll add it to my list of 1000 things to do.

What you are overlooking is the fact that the second way of interpreting the chart makes the results worse, not better. So it wasn't necessary for me to go all through my writings and change all of the "5% retention rate" statements in my web site as I gradually came to the conclusion that the study was a cheap-and-easy one-day snap-shot of the newcomers, rather than a longitudinal study.

What is worse about the one-day snap-shot interpretation is the fact that a one-day survey done only once every three years, when the triennial surveys are conducted, will not count the immense number of A.A. beginners who only came to a few A.A. meetings and were appalled by what they saw, and walked out and didn't come back. When you include them in the count, the retention rate is way below 5%.

And then of course we have all of the historical quotes from Bill Wilson and the founders' secretaries, declaring that they had a disastrous retention rate then too, no better than 5%, and often worse.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to
**     another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman,
**     "Lies - damn lies - and statistics," still there are some
**     easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest
**     cannot wriggle out of.
**     Leonard Henry Courtney, the British economist and politician
**     (1832-1918), later Lord Courtney, speaking at New York, August 1895.

Date: Mon, April 12, 2010 9:09 pm     (answered April 13, 2010)
From: "anonymous"
Subject: Hello

After 20 years of being in AA, I couldn't agree more with nearly everything you've written.

Oh the stories I could tell too. It wears me out even thinking of trying to tell you.

I just wanted to see if this email worked or not and to tell you to keep up the good work.

Someone should make a real movie out of what AA is really like, I'd love to contribute to that script.

Please don't list my email address or name, truly because of the fear that AA engenders in people.

Hi. Your messages are coming through just fine, and I'll answer them just as soon as I'm set up again.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*          orange@orange-papers.org       *
*      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, April 12, 2010 9:21 pm
From: "anonymous"
Subject: Homeless?

I just sent you a previous email, but in reading your last letter, I'm trying to figure out how in the world you are homeless if you are.

You should at least be making a mint out of having the Orange Papers turned into a book.

Once again, please don't list my name or email.....

Date: Tue, April 13, 2010 1:06 am     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "anonymous"
Subject: Psycho AA website

Check out this insane woman's site.....


Once again...just list me as anonymous, no email, name, etc.

Hello again, anonymous,

It's easy to be homeless. All that you need is a new property management corporation to take over the building that you live in and decide to crack the whip and get the tenants in line with lots of new rules and threats. And I was gone. I was not about to pay money to live under such conditions. I hired a crew with a truck and moved all of my stuff to a storage locker.

And then, out of sheer vindictiveness, the manageress declared that she had a new rule: Tenants were no longer allowed to load trucks at the truck loading area in the garage, which is conveniently located directly across from the elevator. No, I had to hand-carry everything that I owned through the lobby to the street out front, where we had to park the truck in a metered parking space, when we could find one. That tells you what kind of people they are — torturing an elderly disabled veteran at Christmas because she was angry that I was moving out, rather than obeying her orders, which I suppose messed up her averages for occupancy and keeping tenants. It took four days to get everything packed and out that way. And one of those four days, the manageress allowed incoming tenants to unload their truck in the truck loading area. So much for the new rule. That was Pinnacle Property Management who did that. They are also on the Internet.

But now I have finally found a much better place to live. The story is here and here and here.

I'll check out that link.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The only tyrant I accept in this world
**     is the small still voice within me.
**         ==   Mahatma Gandhi

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