Letters, We Get Mail, CCVI
by A. Orange

Date: Mon, November 8, 2010 4:48 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Laura L."
Subject: Thank you!

Hi Orange,

I just wanted to thank you so much for this site. I have recently left AA and have so much anger and pain over it (my "friends" that I made over the months want nothing to do with me since I left even though I have no desire to be a drunk...I just don't want AA). True cult mentality...I am now an outsider and am therefore suspicious and not worth anything. I had doubts about AA as well as anger over the condescending slogans, the rudeness "softened" by the person saying that it's okay if they call me a selfish liar because they are one too, the fact that I had to "make up my own Higher Power," that the Steps did nothing but make me feel guilty and horrible...etc.

When I left, I felt completely lost and hopeless. I had relapsed and felt like a failure. I had 99 days, and once I relapsed it didn't matter, they said I hadn't worked a strong enough program, that I wasn't being honest, and that I was selfish and self pitying to be upset about "failing." When I decided to leave, people told me not to talk to them anymore. It apparently, "wasn't judgment," it was just them "working their own program of recovery."

Needless to say, I was furious. I actually found your site because I'd lamented about what had happened on a mental illness support group site, and they gave me your URL. That was a true "blessing." I'm working on reading through everything on this site! Please keep posting anything new that you find. Thank you for helping to confirm the doubts that I was already having BEFORE I even relapsed and left the program...


Hello Laura,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and I hope you are doing well.

I can relate to the ostracism and shunning that you experienced. That is just so typical of a cult. They are trapped in an "Us versus Them" mentality. On the bright side, rejoice that you are not trapped. You are out. You are free of that. It is not your fate to waste your life in a cult.

I know that you feel like you have been rejected, and that hurts. But consider what really happened was, you were in Hell, and you wouldn't go along with "The Program" because you sensed that there was something wrong with it, so the devils kicked you out of Hell, and told you that they don't ever want to see you again. There are worst fates than that, you know.

Now about the relapsing, I hesitate to give out advice, but I'm going to anyway. Just some links to make it easier for you to find some things. This link leads to a letter that gives more links about what has worked and has been helpful for me and other people: How did you get to be where you are?

So have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives
**     enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and virtues.
**       ==  William Ellery Channing (1780—1842), Amer. Unit. Clergy

[The next letter from Laura is here.]

Date: Mon, November 8, 2010 8:17 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Bobbi H. posted on your Wall.

Bobbi wrote:
"went to see my couselor today. She's been out for a month or so for surgery. I had the dubious task of telling her that I no longer believed AA was healthy for me. Her response..."well it's about time you woke up!""

Hello Bobbi,

Thanks for the laugh. Your counselor reminds me of a crabby Zen master, or Yoda.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
**      and all are slaves beside.
**        ==  William Cowper (1731—1800), English poet

Date: Mon, November 8, 2010 9:11 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Eric L. posted on your Wall.

Eric wrote:
"Agent — belated congratulations on your decade of slow-briety. As my dear late friend would say, "you're well into your 11th year". Anyway, it's a good start on a new way of life. Love those pictures of the goslings — keep em coming."

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the good wishes, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited,
**      and cannot serve any one; it must husband its resources to
**      live. But health answers its own ends, and has to spare;
**      runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of
**      other men's necessities.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Poet and Essayist

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings
Carmen's family, munching some more oatmeal.

The pigeons are already lurking, waiting for their chance to get the oatmeal.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Wed, November 10, 2010 4:51 pm     (answered 4 December 2010)
From: "Richard W."
Subject: Just a thought

Where did you get your information? You have got to be the stupidest person I have ever read.

Date: Wed, November 10, 2010 5:06 pm     (answered 4 December 2010)
From: "Richard W."
Subject: Fw: Just a thought

Nevermind...you are just fund raising for a program called SMART. I see no real evidence behind your claims, just ways to get money

Hello Richard,

My sources of information are listed in the bibliography, here. Notice that the bibliography actually starts with the "Big Book", Alcoholics Anonymous, and continues with many official A.A. council-approved books, including Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, PASS IT ON, and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age.

I am not raising funds for SMART. I haven't given any money to SMART in several years.

I am just telling the truth as I see it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves
**     just what we shall think and just how we shall act.
**     William G. Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 36-37.
**     Don't worry, Bill Wilson will tell you what to think.

Date: Wed, November 10, 2010 9:43 pm     (answered 4 December 2010)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: ONDCP — Kerlikowske and America's new dug policies

Hi Terrance,

This link is to an article about Gil Kerlikowske, our new drug czar, and a fundamental change in ONDCP policies. It almost brought a tear to my eye. Finally someone is demanding results for the billions of dollars wasted in 12 step treatment. It seems that your quote on your last response to me was right on the money: "...we shall see the reign of witches pass over..."


Let's all enjoy this and perhaps if those of us who have suffered through this 12 step garbage were to write one short letter of encouragement to the ONDCP that would send a pretty clear message to they guys at the top that....

  • a) You guys are heading in the right direction
  • b) It's worse that you think
  • c) We will support you in changing it

How many letters could we send? 1,000? 100,000. Would that send a message?

Thanks for all you do Orange

Hello again, iamnotastatistic,

Thanks for the thanks, and thanks for an encouraging letter.

And I think you suggestion is a great idea. Now I'll have to twist my own arm and remember to write a letter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Heroes have gone out, quacks have come in; the reign of quacks
**    has not ended with the nineteenth century. The sceptre is held
**    with a firmer grasp; the empire has a wider boundary. We are
**    all the slaves of quackery in one shape or another. One portion
**    of our being is always playing the successful quack to the other.
**       ==  Thomas Carlyle (1795—1881), English essayist,
**             historian, biographer, and philosopher

Date: Thu, November 11, 2010 5:38 am     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "Barry H."
Subject: Your AA article

At one point in my life I felt much like you did about AA although I was probably less vitriolic and certainly less public than you. There are some points you raise which I even still agree with, although I haven't thrown out the baby with the bath water. The idea among some members that 'your head has a contract out on your ass' I find ridiculous for example, as I do the notion that thinking is bad. I also agree that steps 6 and 7 don't make much sense to me in the way they are written. In my own mind I change them to read 'I became completely willing to change (the negative aspects of my behaviour discovered in the preceding 2 steps)' and for step 7 'ask for God's help to aid me in making those changes.' Whenever I've mentioned the changes I make nobody gives me any flak and in fact some even thank me for the clarification.

The reason for making these changes goes, I think, to the heart of 'why', as you rightly ask, the 12 steps work. Like all alcohol and drug addicts I've encountered I grew up feeling different, feeling I didn't belong, and that I wasn't a real person like everyone else. Consequently I was never able to form the close personal and social bonds that others seemed to do naturally. With alcohol all that changed. It mimicked all the loving warm fuzzy feelings those relationships brought about naturally. I could drink all alone, just me and my case of beer, and feel just wonderful. I, like every other person, needed intimacy desperately and I, unfortunately, found it in the bottle. What the 12 steps and the AA fellowship do is enable me to reconnect with the human race and and help me to become the sort of person others would like and that allows me to enter into those intimate relationships I so badly need to replace the alcohol. Ultimately they helped me to grow up.

On the issue of medication we don't hear much of what you report here in Vancouver. I am in complete agreement with you that no one in AA should be telling anyone what to do with their meds. In fact I find a large number of members who are on various psychiatric medications and no one is telling them to go off them. I in fact take an anti-depressant and nobody's ever suggested I go off it. AA's official position on the subject ('AA and Other Drugs') is right in line with both our thinking.

As to step 3 and turning over your will I have often given the following analogy at meetings: You get in your car, do up your seat belt, travel at the posted speed, stay in the correct lane, stop at red lights, go at green, and signal all your turns. If you do all this you have effectively given your will and your life over to the care of the Motor Vehicle Code in your area and most likely you've arrived safely at your destination. If you decide to 'take your will into your own hands' and speed, run red lights and so forth the odds are good that sooner or later you're going to get charged or wind up in an accident. The same applies to the 'Rules of Life', such as the Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you and so forth. Doing 'God's will' is simply a matter of doing the next right thing. And if you don't there are consequences.

As for the big book itself it was given to Harry Fosdick, a then eminent theologian at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, before publication. He passed and praised the book without qualification. The quotes you criticize seem to be way out of context, as if you're reaching for the worst possible spin to put on them just to fulfil your own purposes. And resentments ARE the number one offender. Resentments are a defence mechanism we use to keep us from looking at our part or some aspect of the situation underlying it. I resent the boss who fires me for example, which allows me to avoid owning the fact that I really deserved to be fired. Perhaps you should look at your resentment against AA to find out what you might be keeping from yourself as I had to do.

With regard to AA's success rate I refer you to George Valliant's 1983 book (and updated sometime in the 90's) 'The Natural History of Alcoholism'. In it Valliant summarizes a huge longitudinal study by Harvard University which followed 642 males in Boston from age 12 to age 50 who were a part of a much larger sample but who became alcoholic during the course of those years. What he found was that 50% of all alcoholics had achieved recovery by age 50 and that a third of those credited AA. Others credited marriages, church attendance, and alcoholism treatment among other things. AA was the single largest source of success. Valliant, a Harvard psychiatrist, is now on the Board of Trustees of AA.

Today I am quite content with my AA membership and still go to meetings because I want to, not because I have to. Then again I know many people over the years who have dropped out and continue to stay sober. I've never read anywhere that you have to attend AA meetings for the rest of your life. I've always believed that the purpose of AA was to become a fully functioning member of society again and that may involve leaving AA if someone has developed a normal network of friends and intimate friends outside the program.

Anyway, I don't criticize other organizations like Safe Recovery, Life Ring, or Rational Recovery nor do I hear other members doing so. In fact I know a few who go to both AA and one of the other groups mentioned. I'll be the first to admit that AA is not for everyone and that whatever works for someone works, be it AA or anything else. The idea is to get and stay sober in whatever way you can. Which method you use to accomplish that is immaterial.

AA is a human creation and has all the human faults that people can bring to it. Are there assholes in the program doing the things you mention? Certainly. But they are very small in number and are inevitable in an organization as big and wide spread as AA but they are not the norm. If you go looking for assholes you'll find them, but if you are looking for sane, sober, and serene people with minds of their own you'll find them too.

Best regards,


Hello Barry,

Thank you for a very interesting and informative letter.

Starting at the top, you changed the 12 Steps. You had the intelligence and common sense to look at the 12 Steps and realize immediately that they would not work for you, that they are crazy nonsense. Sitting on your duff and waiting for an imaginary "Higher Power" to fix all of your defects is suicidally stupid behavior. So you did something intelligent and common-sensical: You made up your own program that would work, and you did that program.

Congratulations on your sobriety. You should realize of course that you have never actually done the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and that they have never worked for you.

Furthermore, what you did is just what Bill Wilson bitterly denounced in his sermons: You used self-will, self-reliance, and your own intelligence to save your life. Bill Wilson wrote that Self-reliance is a very bad thing. (Please follow that link.)

Now, you praise the 12 Steps and promote Alcoholics Anonymous in order to be part of the group. Like you said,

"I, like every other person, needed intimacy desperately and I, unfortunately, found it in the bottle. What the 12 steps and the AA fellowship do is enable me to reconnect with the human race and and help me to become the sort of person others would like and that allows me to enter into those intimate relationships..."

So you traded alcohol abuse for membership in a cult religion. They like you because you say what they want to hear, even if it's untrue, like praising the 12 Steps that never worked for you. At least your liver benefits from that, even if your brain does not.

I know about Dr. George Vaillant's book, The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983), and I have quoted it extensively, and discussed it here. Please click on that link and read that.

Beware of the word games. In the passage that you cited, Dr. Vaillant said that many of the recovered alcoholics gave the credit for their sobriety to the A.A. program. He did not say that the A.A. program actually worked and helped those people to quit drinking and stay sober. Dr. Vaillant did not say that A.A. improved the rate of sobriety in alcoholics. Dr. Vaillant just wrote that they "gave the credit" to A.A. (Just like how you are giving the credit for your sobriety to A.A.'s 12 Steps, after you didn't work the 12 Steps.)

When Dr. Vaillant tried to prove that A.A. works in a proper controlled test, he accidentally proved that A.A. does not work — that it in fact kills more alcoholics than it saves.

Dr. Vaillant helped to run CASPAR, the Cambridge-Sommerville Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation, for many years. It was a Federally-funded program for treating alcoholics, and Dr. Vaillant had to turn in an honest report that stated what the results of the program were. He had to truthfully tell the government what they got for their money. That is what the book The Natural History of Alcoholism is — the report. The results were so bad that Vaillant tried to hide the results by padding the report with hundreds of pages of irrelevant information that buried the truth back at pages 283 to 286. The real results were: After eight years of A.A. treatment, Vaillant's first 100 patients scored 5 continuously sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. Dr. Vaillant honestly declared that the A.A.-based treatment program was a complete failure:

Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling.


In table 8.2, the results of the Clinic sample at eight years are compared with five rather disparate follow-up studies in the literature which are of similar duration but which looked at very different patient populations. Once again, our results were no better than the natural history of the disorder.

The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.

The same text was reprinted in Vaillant's later book, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995, pages 349-352.

"The natural history of the disorder" is what usually happens with untreated alcoholics. You know, "Jails, Institutions, or Death". But also lots of spontaneous recoveries where people just get a grip and decide to improve their lives, and do it, regardless of what club or church they might be attending at the time.

All of the rest of the stuff about the "core city group" — those hundreds of pages of other information and surveys of other people — is just filler to divert attention from the sad truth. It does not change what happened in CASPAR, and it does not show that A.A. really works. The actual documented results of Dr. Vaillant's work show that A.A. failed, and A.A. produced the highest death rate of any treatment program that he studied. And nothing has changed those grim facts since.

It is good that your group in Vancouver does not tell newcomers not to take their medications. Now if we could just get the rest of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to be half as realistic....

Your argument about Step Three and giving control of your will to somebody else ignores the fact that giving your will to a group of drunkards and criminals is a very unwise thing to do. Likewise, devoting your life to following the teachings of criminals and madmen like Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson is spiritual suicide.

Funny that you should mention the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Do you know who else taught at the Union Theological Seminary? Reinhold Niebuhr, the author of the Serenity Prayer. Reinhold Niebuhr strongly denounced Frank Buchman and his pro-Nazi theology:

      On returning from Europe, Frank Buchman, Oxford group revivalist, is quoted by a reputable New York paper as having said: "I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front-line defense against the anti-Christ of communism...."

      In this interview the social philosophy of the Oxford group, long implicit in its strategy, is made explicit, and revealed in all its childishness and viciousness. This philosophy has been implicit in Buchmanite strategy from the beginning. ...

      In other words, a Nazi social philosophy has been a covert presumption of the whole Oxford group enterprise from the very beginning. We may be grateful to the leader for revealing so clearly what has been slightly hidden.
Reinhold Niebuhr, The Christian Century magazine, October 7, 1936, pages 1315 and 1316.
Complete text available here.

All that Bill Wilson did to get the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous was copy Buchmanism, lock, stock, and barrel. In 1938, Bill Wilson's unnamed group of alcoholics was just the hijacked "Alcoholic Squadron" of the Oxford Group, and Bill Wilson was still claiming that Frank Buchman's cult religion was the cure for alcoholism. So Bill Wilson just wrote down the Oxford Group's cult religion practices and called it the "Alcoholics Anonymous program". Bill Wilson even said so very clearly:

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298, published posthumously in 1988.

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

Now you tell me that Harry Fosdick had no criticism of the A.A. Big Book? So how is it that Harry Fosdick could not recognize Frank Buchman's pro-Nazi cult religion when it was presented to him with another man's name listed as the author?

Or did he? Was Harry Fosdick really a Buchmanite?

The rest of your rap about "resentments" in that paragraph is standard Wilsonism insanity. You are just regurgitating the ravings of a lunatic. "Resentments" do not cause "spiritual diseases", and "resentments" do not cause alcoholism.

When you said, "I'll be the first to admit that AA is not for everyone and that whatever works for someone works...", that was an attempt at Escape Via Relativism. It's like, "It might work for you; it might not. Your mileage may vary. It's just your opinion versus my opinion." Whatever kills more people than it saves is not a useful cure.

Have a good day.

== Orange

P.S.: (17 Feb 2011)
I just ran across this quote:

**     God is not a cosmic bell-boy.
**       ==  Harry Emerson Fosdick

So Harry Fosdick says that God is not your butler or your bell-boy? God is not ready to wait on you hand and foot and grant all of your wishes? You don't get a free servant?

But that is precisely what the A.A. theology and the 12 Steps say that God is, and does. The 12 Steps say that God will restore you to sanity, and manage your unmanageable life for you, and take care of your will and your life for you, and remove all of your defects, and even talk to you in a seánce. So how is it that Harry Emerson Fosdick allegedly approved of the Big Book?

Do you have any documentation of Fosdick's statements, or was that just Bill Wilson bragging that Fosdick approved of his book?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how
**      deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need
**      a boundless ethic which will include the animals also."
**        ==  Albert Schweitzer, physician/Nobel Laureate.

[The previous letter from Michelle is here.]

Date: Wed, October 20, 2010 9:38 am     (answered 5 December 2010)
Subject: Buddha quote

Hi Orange.

Thought you'd like this:

The Kalamas of Kesaputta came to the Buddha and said: "There are some monks and teachers who come to Kesaputta. They talk a lot about their own ideas but they despise and take to pieces the views of others. And as we listen to them, we can't help feeling some doubt. We waver between who is telling the truth and who is telling lies."

"It's a good thing that you do have doubt, Kalamas. You may well waver, for your wavering is all to do with a matter that is wide open to doubt.

"So listen to me, Kalamas. Don't go by gossip and rumor, nor by what's told you by others, nor by what you hear said, nor even by the authority of your traditional teachings. Don't go by reasoning, nor by inferring one thing from another, nor by argument about methods, nor from liking an opinion, nor from awe of the teacher and thinking he must be deferred to.

"Instead, Kalamas, when you know from within yourselves that certain teachings are not good, that when put into practice they lead to loss and suffering, you must then trust yourselves and reject them."

Huge fan
Michelle J

Thank you, Michelle,

That's great. Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
**      not going all the way, and not starting.
**        ==  Buddha

[The previous letter from Paul Morantz is here.]

Date: Fri, November 12, 2010 4:18 pm     (Answered November 12, 2010)
From: "Paul Morantz"
Subject: RE: cults

Well we are of same era. You are a very bright man. If you have time go to paulmorantz.com

Oh heck! You are THAT Paul Morantz, with the rattlesnake in the mailbox, courtesy of Synanon. Yes, I've written about that on my web site.

I'm downloading your web site now. I'll read it later.

It's nice to hear from you.

Have a good day now.

== 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.

[The next letter from Paul M. is here.]

Date: Fri, November 12, 2010 5:27 pm     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Mikael F. B. posted on your Wall.

Mikael wrote:
"THANKS A LOT FROM DENMARK (please excuse my English, it may be a bit clumsy) for your enormous insight and dedication in exposing the 12-step religion for what it really is. I've read your online book several times, and I still pop by occasionally, just to maintain my detoxification from that poisonous piece of quasi-religious propaganda that infected my mind, back then. Thank you & keep up the good work!"

Hi Mikael,

Thank you for the thanks, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

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

[The previous letter from Barry Y. is here.]

From: "Barry Y."
Subject: Re: yes, it's a paradox
Date: Fri, November 12, 2010 6:10 pm

haven't read all your lit. so i dont know answer to this question; are u an alcoholic? do u still drink?

Hello again Barry,

I was an alcoholic. I no longer drink. I have 10 years of sobriety now.

i've been to some 4,000 mtgs and can truly say it's not a cult. in a cult, everyone who joins is different- from different bgrounds, different philosophies, religions- they all end up subscribing/professing to tenets. belief system. it's exactly the opposite in a.a. we all come in the same- e.g. very effed up. from there anything goes- if one stays sober and reorganizes their egos.

That is simply not true at all. First off, cults often pick on a particular special group or class of victims. The Moonies specialized in recruiting young, inexperienced college students who were away from home for the first time and lonely and disoriented, and hence easy to draft into another "family". Other cults specialize in picking up on people who are disillusioned and alienated, or unemployed and dislocated. Synanon of course specialized in gathering sick, desperate, recovering addicts.

And Alcoholics Anonymous specializes in recruiting alcoholics who are sick and down and in a bad way, and who are vulnerable to suggestion and open to change.

And of course the cult members do all "Come To Believe" the same things. That's even a standard A.A. slogan, of course. You have to believe a lot of things, like that the 12 Steps actually work, and are more than just cult religion nonsense. And that meetings are good for you. And you must believe that you can have any "Higher Power" that you wish (except for a standard one like Jesus Christ), and your home-made "God" will perform miracles for you and change you for the better and deliver miracles on demand. And of course you must believe that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob were great men who brought a gift from God into this world, rather than brain-damaged old alcoholics who promoted a pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-twenties and -thirties.

Lastly, there are many characteristics that define a cult. I put together a list of 100, and could have gone up to 110 or 115. You only picked one — standardized beliefs — and one imaginary one — different kinds of recruits — and tried to claim that A.A. is not a cult because you think A.A. does not exhibit that one characteristic. That is the propaganda trick called "The Fallacy of One Dissimilarity" — find one difference between two things and then declare that they are completely different.

Read the Cult Test for the list of 100 characteristics of a cult. Then you could try scoring A.A. on that test yourself. Please be "rigorously honest" per Big Book page 58.

not trying to be combative- just open-minded, curious. and truly? i absolutely couldn't stay sober on my own.

i'm a film director, artist, musician, 160 iq, masters degree, well read and travelled- and pretty revolutionary/leftist in my outlook- in no way a conformist. but i love hanging out w alcoholics and addicts. we different, y'all respect


Well, enjoy your meetings, Barry.

And have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The belief which we find thus questionable, both as being
**     a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an
**     almost-extinct family, is a belief that is not countenanced
**     by a single fact.
**       ==  Herbert Spencer, "Principles of Biology",
**            Volume 1, page 336, published 1864 to 1867.

[The next letter from Barry Y. is here.]

[The previous letter from Kevin is here.]

Date: Fri, November 12, 2010 7:38 pm     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "kevin g."
Subject: Re:

It seems to me you have a real grudge not only with AA but also with organized religion, I could be wrong but it seems that way. I can't disagree with you about some leaders of faith, but just because some are bad doesn't mean all are bad.

Not an attack just an observation. You can see that I was offended by your remarks or I never would have replied. But after these few emails, I truly believe you have a resentment against the things , maybe not, but life experience has shown me this is usually the case, but only you can truly answer that. Also you say that AA only harms people, (don't you think you should make sure nobody has been helped before making this comment. There are many people I do know who would disagree with you based on their own self evidence of not drinking or drugging etc... for 10-15-20-30 years or more. They have done a complete 180 this is fact, not theory. Not all who choose the AA path make it, but many do.

There are sick and suffering people all over the world, not just in churches or in AA. And I am sure you would agree with that also.

It has been nice to chat with you. I only want to try and be happy in life, I have found I am not very happy when I try to prove I am right. So with these last I wish well in life and may you be happy and peaceful also.

May the Great Spirit Bless you and all of us.

Kevin.R G.

Hi again, Kevin,

You know, it would not matter if I "had a grudge" against both A.A. and organized religion. (I don't, but it wouldn't matter.) That would not change the A.A. failure rate or the A.A. death rate. It isn't about me; it's about Alcoholics Anonymous.

My real "resentment" is against fraud and dishonesty, especially when foisted on sick and vulnerable people.

This statement is erroneous:

"Also you say that AA only harms people, (don't you think you should make sure nobody has been helped before making this comment."

I never said that nobody was ever helped by A.A. What I said was that A.A. kills more people than it saves. A.A. does more harm than good. There may well be one guy "Joe" who was helped by A.A., while A.A. killed Tom, Dick, and Harry with bad advice and crazy dogma and misinformation and cult religion and telling sick people not to take their medications.

And that is exactly what all of the valid medical testing of A.A. has revealed.

Now I do dispute stories where people rave that A.A. saved their lives. I answer that they saved their own lives by quitting drinking. A.A. does not hold your hand every Saturday night and keep you from drinking. Either you save your own life, or you die. (Then, after you have saved your own life, A.A. will steal the credit and say that A.A. saved your life.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make
**    you commit atrocities.
**      ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

[The previous letter from Adam is here.]

Date: Sat, November 13, 2010 7:37 am     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "Adam C."
Subject: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Dear Mr Orange,

Thank you SO MUCH for your reply.

I have made many changes in my life since my initial eMail to you. For the starters, I resigned from my AA Librarian position, because I could not carry on being a part of the scheme. I could not see myself in the situation when I was advocating books full of nonsense to people who were suffering.

One message from your website made me feel simply sick: information about the fact that Bill W. wrote himself the chapter "To Wives". I cannot really describe what I feel, but it is a mixture of emotions: I feel dirty, violated, conned, silly, sad, distressed. What kind of a person could do such a thing? What kind of moral standards did he have? How can anybody even TRY to explain his actions? Each time I was reading that chapter I was absolutely convinced that a bunch of women had written it, pouring their experiences, sorrow and advice on paper. That information, which I had acquired thanks to you, made me give the Big Book away in a flash, and all other AA-branded literature. I cannot spend my time trying to figure out conflicting messages manufactured by a man who was very sick.

Reading your materials I realised very quickly the negativity permeating AA meetings, which you also mentioned in your response to me. Any therapy or support should focus on rebuilding the human's self-esteem, which is so important for any patient, or friend in trouble, or any human being who suffers for any reason. I indeed got caught in the idea that something was wrong with me in the sense that I did not attend to my recovery "well", i.e. I did not do my steps well, or maybe my prayers were inappropriate, or my reasons for coming to AA meetings were too selfish, or whatever. Of course something was wrong with me: I had to move to a new house, my son got sick, my exams were coming, my knee was injured, I had to pay enormous amount back to the taxman — everything at once! I was then feeling down and overwhelmed, but in response to my complains to the AAs I heard: "You are trying to do everything YOUR way, fix everything in YOUR TIME. You are self-will rampant! Do your steps, attend meetings, see your sponsor, do service — everything will be fine!" No wonder I felt even MORE depressed. This is how a bunch of indoctrinated people miss the point and have no idea how to support others. They just repeat like parrots the same things, which can have tragic consequences, cos telling somebody who is depressed that he is in the wrong only leads to a deeper depression, and in the case of an alcoholic it can lead straight to drinking. I saw it not once when really (clinically) sick people are advised to do AA's stuff when all they need is a psychiatrist. Those people in AA who have clinical depression, or other than alcoholic problems, but do not have access to an alternative source of information and support, or simply do not think about a second opinion, can suffer grave consequences of "treatment" administered by AA: they can even die, either drinking, or overdosing, or getting a heart attack.

By the way, they are so opposed to being "self-will rampant", but their "Just for Today" wallet card has the phrase "I will" stated over 20 times! "JUST FOR TODAY — I WILL be happy..., I WILL adjust myself..., I WILL be agreeable..., I WILL... not try to regulate anybody EXCEPT MYSELF etc.".

Your website is a blessing, but made me initially scared. I came to conclusion that I had to build a support structure around me and to find the ways of dealing in crises. Also, I had to look at certain things concerning my health and wellbeing that I did not like, and I had to do it absolutely without involving the self-proclaimed AA therapists, because they could drag me straight to the grave. I was then, initially, a bit lost. I thought that AA was my support, but after my personal experiences and after reading your material and information on other websites, that idea was quickly smashed :) So to speak, another problem was added to all problems that I had: I understood that I had to part with AA, which was, in a sense, a loss for me.

However, thanks to your impact, I turned to the Power Greater Than Myself, which was the Internet, and bought myself, for a good beginning, the book "Get Sober, Stay Sober". It appealed to me since the author reflected all feelings that I currently have. I am reading it just now and enjoying it. I am not going to stop there. As they say in AA: "YOU are responsible for YOUR sobriety!", so I duly take my sobriety OUT of the AA's hands. (What they mean is a responsibility for doing the AA's stuff "well", which can mean absolutely anything.)

I feel MUCH better. I passed my exams 10 days ago, which made me feel proud of myself. My son is coming in a week time for 2 months (holidays), so I will not be alone. I shared during my last AA meeting ("from the floor") last week on the denial topic. I was polite, i.e. never openly criticised any AA's teaching, however never mentioned in my share AA meetings, sponsorship, steps or service. Instead, I talked about recovery, craving triggers, reaching for support and building up to drinking. Of course, one of the AA bozos reacted immediately, disagreed with me on "reaching for support", underlined steps, service, meetings and sponsor, after which he rested content with himself. His speech was full of sarcasm, which would depress me if I hadn't already decided to leave AA, and if I hadn't read your and other material. I am a professional in the field, so repremanding and patronising me on the subject I know so well is particularly painful to me, especially when I really want to help and mean no harm. Instead, I was very sorry for him :)

If alcoholism is a disease, and alcoholics are patients of treatment centres and are ordered to go to AA (as per contract with a treatment centre), then Chapter of Patients' Rights apply. Alcoholics are not committed to treatment centres — only sometimes for detox — so they have all rights as per patients' chapter. ("Ordered by court" does not mean "committed", by the way.) Informed choice concerning treatment methods is a part of that chapter, otherwise, in case of the treatment failure, any patient can simply sue any health service provider for not being adequately informed. Even a court order cannot overrule the Chapter of Patients' Rights: court can order treatment, but not the method of treatment. To choose a method of treatment the patient must be informed, and the provided information must be scientific evidence-based. If a patient, after series of failures of a given treatment, finds out that the administered treatment is only 2 to 5% effective, he/she can sue for not being informed before treatment about its efficacy, and for not being given a choice of alternative treatment.

I wonder who will be the first alcoholic to sue? :)

Have A Good Weekend!


Hello Adam,

I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. I especially liked your description of how you are building up your own support system. I think it's important to have something that you can call your own so that you are not left in free-fall when you cut the umbilical cord to A.A.

I know what you mean about that dirty feeling that comes from reading the "To Wives" chapter and knowing that Bill Wilson wrote it while pretending to be his wife. Here you are trying to save your own life and you discover that some bozo has no problem with lying to your face while raving about God and spirituality and rigorous honesty and swearing that he is saving you. Is he a lunatic or a heartless monster?

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      It is easier to stay out than get out.
**        ==  Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar",
**            Following the Equator (1897), 1.18

Date: Sat, November 13, 2010 9:31 am     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "jaci c."
Subject: Why do you care?

I appreciate what you're saying, I suppose, and I always like to consider the many sides of an issue. But I don't really understand why you care so much whether AA exists or not. If I find it helpful to my recovery (which, by the way, I worked for on my own for almost 20 years to no avail before finding AA), then who cares really? My life is better today than it was before I found AA. I have not turned all my money nor my first-born over to the group. In fact, they've not taken a thing from me except a couple hours a week that I freely choose to give. I don't believe that I am powerless, in fact, I have more power than I ever did prior to coming to AA. Plenty of people don't get sober by going to AA, and my experience is that AA doesn't particularly care how or if you get sober. There's no profit involved, so what is the point of the cult? I get that you don't like AA. Good for you. AA doesn't kill people though, alcoholism does.

Depression does. Crack and junk does. It just seems to me like perhaps there are more significant causes out there than an anti-AA campaign, I can't see what good all this time you dedicate to hating a relatively innocuous (dis) organization can come to. To me, your obsessive anger about this thing is all the proof I need that your way doesn't work. Who has so much time to dedicate to hating? I certainly don't anymore. It seems a little sad to me. But, to each his own I suppose. I mean, I don't like Prozac- tried it, it made me crazy, stopped taking it. Should I now spend hours every day compiling information on why the world at large should dislike Prozac and how damaging it is to EVERYONE because it was damaging to me? If it works for you, good. If not, fine. Why should that be my business? And how pathetic and futile it would be for me to sit around all day gathering info on why Prozac sucks and then railing against it? I have better things to do, like continue my education in order to find a way to effect actual change in the world in a useful and positive way. It seems to me that you're living proof of the narcissism and obsessive resentment that the Big Book talks about- "squandering the hours which might have been useful." Thank you for reminding me why I need AA. Good luck on your crusade.

Hello Jaci,

Thanks for the letter and the questions. Why do I care? That's a good question. Why should I care if some quacks are killing sick people with fake medicines? I don't know, but I do.

To claim that A.A. seems to work for some people, so it's okay, is just an attempt at Escape Via Relativism. There sure is a lot of that going around lately.

The fact remains that A.A. actually raises the death rate in alcoholics, and raises the rate of binge drinking, and raises the cost of hospitalization of alcoholics.

That is while A.A. constantly promotes itself as the best solution for alcohol problems. A.A. never tells the truth about its real failure rate. And that is wrong. Morally, A.A. is no better than a guy who opens a clinic in Tijuana and sells quack cures for cancer that end up killing the patients sooner, while claiming that his treatments are fantastically successful.

You can get the rest of the answers to your questions about why I am so opposed to A.A. here: Read:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If th' Christian Scientists had some science an' th' doctors
**     had more Christyanity, it wudden't make anny diff'rence which
**     ye called in — if ye had a good nurse.
**        ==  Finley Peter Dunne, "Christian Science," Mr. Dooley's Opinions (1901)

Date: Sat, November 13, 2010 10:38 am     (answered 5 December 2010)
From: "Ted B."
Subject: outrage about oxford group

hi orange its me ted... i have been drinking 4 at least 20 yrs. and am still fighting to stay alive ...i hate being told what to do yes, that is part of my problem i suppose. But when the people telling me what to do r just as or more full of shit than i am ...i become outraged. Frank Buchman and Bill Wilsons foo- paws (joke)...should b common knowledge IF the treatment industry is to treat anyone THEY should be as honest with us as they expect us to be with them...have a great day.

Hello again, Ted,

Yes, they should be honest with us. As a matter of fact, they are ethically required to be honest with us even if we are not honest with them. Medical practitioners are legally required to completely and accurately inform the patient about any suggested treatment, and how well it works. When "treatment centers" pass off A.A. as a treatment or a "solution" to the "disease" of alcohol abuse, then they are required to tell the truth about their recommended treatment. Of course they don't.

About the fighting for your life: Have you seen a doctor? If you have been fighting to quit drinking for years, you may have something else going on besides alcohol addiction, like maybe an anxiety disorder or an compulsive-obsessive disorder. So please get that checked out. Then, may I give you a link to some stuff that may be helpful? At least suggestive. It's just a bunch of letters that discussed what has worked for various people. Here: How did you get to be where you are?. Maybe you can find something helpful there.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Health is a precious thing, and the only one, in truth, meriting
**     that a man should lay out, not only his time, sweat, labor and
**     goods, but also his life life itself to obtain it.
**       ==  Michel E. de Montaigne (1533—1592), French essayist,
**        "Of the resemblance of children to their fathers,"
**        Essays (1580—1588), tr. Charles Cotton and W. C. Hazlitt

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

gosling stretching
A gosling stretching
The goslings grow so fast that they have all kinds of vague aches and growing pains. They are always lounging around in funny positions, with wings or legs sticking out at awkward angles. They are very much like human teenagers who lay on couches upside down with their feet up the wall.

You can see the two small yellowish adopted orphans in the background, so yes, this is the family that adopted the two orphans.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

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