Letters, We Get Mail, XXVI
by A. Orange



Date: Sat, October 1, 2005

Agent-Orange,

Thanks so much for the effort you put into your papers and web site. I have been through the 12-step treatment programs and feel these are one of the most criminal institutions in the world. I could hop on my soap box for days about this. There are very few people who stand up and tell the truth about this politically correct and taboo 'Recovery' industry. I wish to leave you with nothing more than a thanks. The thought of a group of people trying to help each other with a common problem is great... this is not what these 12-step programs are about. They consist of sick twisted individuals that live AA every waking moment (and have no clue about life outside of AA) and dictate or humiliate others. I have been out of AA for 3 months and have not been happier. I still have some work to do, but it is my work and not the work of a depressed psychotic sponsor.

AA has no accountabity but has a LOT of money. Very sad how the courts toss people there. I have seen to many people kill themselves in AA, but never once had a diehard drinking buddy kill themself. I VERY MUCH believe that it is AA that kills people!!!!! Including very famous people that I have known.

AA Sucks!!! And should be investigated,
Jeff W. — Happy w/out AA doctrine.

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the letter, and I couldn't agree more.

Have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Tue, October 4, 2005
Subject: A.A.

I appreciate that you put so much time and thought into this persuasive work, and I'm glad you are standing up for your beliefs. Still, I'm a member of A.A. and I believe in Heaven and Hell, so I think I'll keep working the program, even if it is a cult, as you are convinced it is.

Hello Jonathan,
Thanks for the letter. Well, you know, I believe in Heaven and Hell too, and that's why I'm not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In section #80 you wrote that the promises never come true because you never get half way through step ten, which would be true if the promises were said to come halfway through step ten, but aren't they said to come half way through step nine? (p.83) And, if I'm reading that correctly, we certainly can get halfway through our amends.

You know, you are right. He begins the Promises on page 83 and continues into page 84, and then starts on Step 10 in the next sentence immediately after declaring, "Are these extravagant promises? We think not." and then making yet another promise: "They will always materialize if we work for them." I'll have to correct that.

Also, in section #31, about the alleged misrepresentation of A.A. history, you said that A.A. does not talk about Dr. Buchman and his supposed sympathy for the Nazis, but "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" (the A.A. conference approved book) reveals all of that.

I don't remember that as having been anything more than a mild gloss-over and cover-up. I'll have to get my hands on that book again and re-read that section.

And the historical truth is that it really was not a case of "Dr. Buchman and his supposed sympathy for the Nazis". There was nothing "supposed" about it. That's the kind of gloss-over and minimization and denial that I object to. The truth is that Dr. Frank Buchman was in Nuremberg at the Nazi Party rallies year after year, Sieg-Heiling Hitler with the rest of them. Check out the "Partying with the Nazi Party" chapter of the new expanded history of the Oxford Group that I just uploaded. And Frank Buchman was very chummy with Heinrich Himmler, and was Himmler's personal guest at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. A contemporary journalist, Robert Byron, wrote in his diary that "Himmler apparently dotes on the Oxford Group and writes to its English members discussing their troubles with them."

And above all, Frank Buchman was a Nazi apologist who never criticized Adolf Hitler, no matter how many people Hitler killed. Buchman actually managed to "patriotically" wave the flag all through World War II without ever criticizing Hitler or the Nazis.

In addition, Frank Buchman was not the only fascist in the Oxford Group. It was full of them. Peter Howard, who took over the leadership of the organization when Buchman died, was an old fascist who was a member of Sir Oswald Mosley's New Party, which morphed into the B.U.F. — the British Union of Fascists, and Peter Howard was the leader of the New Youth Movement, Sir Oswald Mosley's copy of the Hitlerjugend.

Reinhold Niebuhr, the eminent theologian who wrote the Serenity Prayer, strongly criticized Frank Buchman for pro-Hitler and pro-Nazi sympathies. Niebuhr wrote an article called "Hitler and Buchman" for The Christian Century magazine in 1936, in which he declared, "In other words, a Nazi social philosophy has been a covert presumption of the whole Oxford group enterprise from the very beginning."

There just isn't any doubt about the fascist sympathies of the whole Oxford Group. It is well-established documented facts and verified history, but the A.A. leaders and propagandists are still doing the Minimization and Denial tap-dance about the whole thing, and won't be "rigorously honest". To say "Dr. Buchman and his supposed sympathy" is grossly dishonest.

It's just like how in PASS IT ON, the AAWS staff deceptively wrote (page 170),
"In August [1936], the New York World-Telegram published an article about Buchman, charging that he was pro-Nazi."
No, the World-Telegram published an interview, not an article, where they quoted Frank Buchman while Frank Buchman enthusiastically praised Adolf Hitler and declared that all of our problems "could be solved through a God-controlled Fascist dictatorship."
There is a big difference there. AAWS was being dishonest again. And that's "Conference-approved literature".

Also, no reasonable A.A. is very shaken upon learning that the founders did terrible things. They preached "progress not perfection" and they seemed to have progessed as much as any human in their situation could have been expected to progress.

There is still a strong tendency among the true believers to declare that Bill and Dr. Bob were saints who brought a New Message From God. They weren't, and somebody had better tell the truth about all of that.

Also, p. 212 of "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" says, "Some think... Dr. Bob was a bit of an autocrat..." and on p.288 Joe was quoted as having said that, "Doc was extremely democratic..." In any case, if untruths improve people's lives, and there's no downside, then what's so wrong with that?

Now you have just hit on one of the worst characteristics of Alcoholics Anonymous: "the end justifies the means". They falsely claim that they have a great success rate and have saved millions of alcoholics, and then they claim that despicable practices like deceptive recruiting, coercive recruiting, lying about the success rate, and rewriting history are all okay because A.A. saves so many millions of alcoholics — "it helps them" — "it's for their own good". That is simply all a lie, the Big Lie of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, by the way, the true-believer A.A. authors of "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" used the Minimization and Denial trick when they declared that "Some think... Dr. Bob was a bit of an autocrat...". As if, well, a few stupid jerks think it, but what do they know?....

Actually, Dr. Bob's daughter Susan wrote that he was an autocratic authoritarian sadistic fool who whittled a wooden paddle with which to beat his children, modifying it so that it would hurt more. That is a lot more serious than it being a case of "just a few uninformed people think that maybe Dr. Bob was a bit of an autocrat."

God either is, or he isn't, and I choose to believe he is. By believing, you lose nothing, and if you're right, you gain something that is infinitely good and valuable. You would probably take up bets any day in which you risked much more than nothing, and would stand to gain much, much, less than something infinitely good and infinitely valuable.

I have no objections to you believing in God. In fact, I do too. I also believe in something that I would call general morality, or everyday ethics, and I see A.A. as an organization violating such moral, ethical, and spiritual principles all of the time.

I hope to see you at meetings. Until then, if you can stay sober and relatively happy and productive, my hat is off to you.

Thank you. Yeh, I'm staying clean and sober. I am only 2 weeks away from my 5th anniversary. I also have 5 years off of tobacco, thank God for small favors.

But I don't know if you'll see me at a meeting, not even to pick up my 5-Year coin. I still haven't bothered to go to an A.A. meeting to pick up coins for years 2, 3, or 4.

(sorry for the spelling and grammatical errors, but it's one a.m.)

That's all right. I have that problem too. (I just get a lot of second and third chances to run spell-checkers and re-read and finally catch all of those things.)

P.S. I take a mood stabilizer and an anti-psychotic for bipolar, and I have been clean and sober for a little over fourteen months, and as far as I can tell from all of the A.A. literature, and the pertinent pamphlets, everything is as it should be. The Big Book says, "Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a necomer and in following his case afterward," (p.133 The Family Afterward). (PLEASE make sure that the friend you wrote about who has a mental illness knows about both this last quote, and the A.A. pamphlet about medications. I pray and hope that he will take his meds regularly.

Yes, that is the contradiction (or bait-and-switch stunt). In the Big Book, Bill Wilson very clearly told people to go to doctors and get treated, and yet so many fanatics today are harming sponsees with this no-medications nonsense, even killing people. And that has been going on for so many years. I hear that, around 1990 or so, the A.A. headquarters sent out a memo telling the sponsors to stop instructing their sponsees not to take their doctor-prescribed medications, but the sponsors just ignored that request and kept on doing it anyway. (I'd love to get a copy of that memo; maybe somebody has one.)

Heck, Carolyn See, who was the step-daughter of Wynn Corum, who was the authoress of the Big Book story "Freedom From Bondage", reported that during her childhood, she heard the early A.A. members bickering over whether taking aspirin for a headache was a slip from pure sobriety.

This seems to be one of those cases where there is a big difference between what is written on paper and what the real traditions are.

Take Care,
Jonathan

Yes, I will, thank you, and you take care too. And have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Tue, October 4, 2005
Subject: Nice Site

Hello Orange,

Very nice and extensive and easy to explore site. I really am impressed with the documentation of source info. I also like the ease of clicking on a word linked to another page. Very Coool and very helpful. Have you ever published a formal book for store's? And what's with the anonymity? I'm sure you are familiar with support groups like LSR; lifering secular recovery. Personally I think it would add to credibility if you did and did away with that Orange Secret... whatever when I went to the main page. If I saw that before looking at the other stuff, I might have gone no further. Thinking that it was just crap and not of quality. Your site is of quality. I think you should reconsider and drop that part and put a real name up there.

Rich C.

Hi Rich,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for all of the complements.

Yes, I get a few requests now and then for a printed book. Alas, I can't help but feel like paper is obsolete. The links don't work. It would take so much surgery to prepare a book for the printing press that I don't know if it's work the effort. It would be a very low-volume book.

What I do is suggest that people download all of the archive files so that they will have the entire website, and then burn CDs. (The archive files are listed on the main menu page.)

About the "Secret Agent Orange" thing: Yes, I have thought of abandoning it, and I will someday. Part of my reason for remaining anonymous is that I am in the heart of the beast right now, in a "recovery community", and I don't need rabid Steppers gunning for me, thanks anyway. (And I'm not just being paranoid, either. Charles Bufe, who wrote one of the first good exposés of A.A., Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?, had his garage torched by an arsonist last year. The fire destroyed most of his files on A.A.. Gee, what a coincidence.)

I don't know a lot about LSR. I have heard good things about them, but have no experience. I have poked in there a few times, and shall again. I need to wrack up a lot more Internet cruising time. Up until a few weeks ago, I was extremely limited in my connectivity to the Internet, and didn't have much browsing time. Now I have a WiFi card and am able to connect to a free server that is very unreliable, but at least it still lets me get in there and get some stuff done now and then.

Have a good day.

== Orange





From: "Richard O."
Date: Fri, October 7, 2005 7:17 pm
Subject: info request

can you provide me with direct linkage between Bill, or Bob, with Bachman. I'm in AA, I'm considered a heretic by many, and I find we share many of the same concerns. I don't believe in sacred cows and a Mother Theresa is not hiding behind every bush waiting to jump out and save us.

Cheers

Ric O.

Hi Ric,

The simplest and most obvious linkage is that Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith both joined Frank Buchman's cult religion, and they liked it so much that they stole it and made it their own cult. Alcoholics Anonymous is just the Oxford Group dressed up in a shabbier suit of clothes. See the history of A.A. and the Oxford Group, here.

I get the feeling that you might be thinking of face-to-face contact. That was rare. The story I hear is that Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson may have met a few times, and shook hands once. When Frank Buchman was in New York City, Bill Wilson served as an usher at one of Frank's affairs.

But in general, Buchman and Wilson lived in two different worlds. Frank Buchman liked to hang out with millionaires, kings, queens, and princes, and he had little use for poor alcoholics.

The person who did have a lot of contact with Bill Wilson was Rev. Sam Shoemaker, the number two man in the Oxford Group. Sam Shoemaker was a very different sort of man than Frank Buchman. Shoemaker ran a rescue mission for down-and-out alcoholics in New York City, Calvary House, as well as running his own Episcopal church, Calvary Church at Fourth Ave and 21st St., and also managing the American branch of the Oxford Group. Bill Wilson and Sam Shoemaker knew each other well, and Bill and his wife Lois went to services and Oxford Group meetings at Sam's church. That is well-documented history.

I hope that answers your question.

have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
* Heisenberg said, "I'm not really sure if    *
* that even was Shrödinger's cat.   I think   *
* he might have used somebody else's cat..."  *





Date: Sun, October 9, 2005
Subject: Your Article About Twelve Step Programs

Wow! I have been resistant to AA/NA for the kind of reasons you discuss in your article. I quit using cocaine without therapy or a support group when I was hooked on it in the Big 80's. Later I developed a dependency on sleeping meds and also quit those on my own. Nevertheless, I have AA members in my life who insist I will relapse without using the twelve steps and going to meetings.

What is your own background? What are the Orange Papers? I'd like to know more.

Thanks,
Heather G.

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and keeping your head above water.

And of course you can continue to abstain from drugs without joining a cult. You didn't need them when you quit, and you don't need them now.

My background? That's complicated, because I am so many things. That is, no one label says it all. I am, among other things, the son of an alcoholic military sergeant, also an old hippie, also an old computer programmer, also an alcoholic or ex-alcoholic, depending on which wording you prefer. And I'm also somebody who saw through the hoax and got sober without A.A. or any such "program".

I have been asked who or what I am many times, so I have a bunch of fragments here and there.

What are the Orange Papers? Just my writings, my take on the whole subject. The name is a take-off of 'white papers', with a twist on mixing apples and oranges.

Have a good day.

== Orange


[2nd letter from Heather:]

Date: Sat, November 12, 2005
Subject: Re: Please read this interview!

http://www.salon.com/weekly/shrink1.html

A wonderful interview with an author and psychologist who speaks out about the culture of victimhood and how to transcend it... Right on!

Heather G.

Hi Heather,

Thanks for the tip.
That's a very good article. So much true and good information.

The *only* disagreement I have with her is the line, "Alcoholics Anonymous has been good to some people."
Perhaps she felt like she had to throw that mollifier out there to appease the wolves, before she went on to criticize Alcoholics Anonymous.

I would reword that and say, "Some people have recovered while going to A.A. meetings, but there is no evidence that they recovered *because of* the A.A. meetings or the 12-Step program."
All of the medical research shows that they will recover at the same rate in *anything else*.

Well, thanks again for the tip. Have a good day.

== Orange





From: "Burton H."
Date: Mon, October 10, 2005 12:52 pm
Subject: Meetings

Hey Orange! I was looking through your site for any references to what you do at meetings, and could not see any headings like that. I am beginning to state some facts that I discovered in researching your site at meetings I go to, and so far have been called an asshole, lol. Also, that person told me to keep coming back, presumably because more would be revealed (by god through AA/NA people) and I would see the light. I have been going to meetings for 12 years and have some years of sobriety too, so I found myself a little resentful at being treated as a newbie!

To be fair, I called Bill Wilson a lying, cheating, stealing, carousing asshole at an NA meeting, so I suppose I can expect some harsh words directed at me. But I was wondering what you do and say when you go to meetings.

It is not my intent to hurt anyone, they are mostly ignorant of what they have accepted as gospel, so must be treated more gently than those who are truly self-appointed gurus, in my opinion. My intent is to tell the truth so that less people get more hurt by AA/NA.

Burton H.

Hi Burton,

Good for you. It's fun to hear of somebody telling the truth now and then.

Your problem sounds so familiar. I have pretty much decided not to go to A.A. meetings any more, simply because I can't really tell the truth there. Oh, I could cause a scene, but what's the point?

There is just such a huge gulf between what they believe is true and what I believe or know is true that there is little common ground to talk about. My approach to sobriety is a 180 degree reversal of most everything that they believe. We could spend hours and days and months or years arguing, but would that help anyone?

I am more than willing to tell the truth to anyone who wants to hear it, so I do this web site.

The basic problem is just that a lot of people really don't want to hear the truth. They just want their favorite beliefs repeated. That is not just a problem with A.A.; it is actually a very common problem with humanity in general. It just shows up more strongly in some kinds of groups, particularly in cult religions and extremist political parties, but it is everywhere to some extent.

My favorite book on that subject is The Wrong Way Home, Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in American Society, by Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.. Dr. Deikman was on a Congressional committee that studied cults after the Jonestown mass suicide and the murder of Congressman Leo J. Ryan, and one of the disturbing facts that he noticed was that cultish behavior was not restricted to cult religions. It was present to some degree in many of our institutions — even government agencies and the White House. He did post-mortems on both Kennedy's Bay of Pigs fiasco and Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra Arms For Hostages and Contra Cocaine for Guns disasters. In both cases he found cultish behavior leading people down the primrose path. In both administrations there was suppression of dissent, devaluing the outsider, dependence on a charismatic leader, and demands for compliance with the group. The result was that people just believed that what they were doing was right, and nothing could go wrong.

So anyway, what is my solution to the problem? Either go to a SMART meeting, or just don't go to any meetings at all. They aren't really necessary.

Have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Mon, October 10, 2005
Subject: Why

I dont understand. Why so much hostillity towards AA?

This site really made me think...........If AA is a cult, then I am a proud member!!

Sincerely
John B

Hi John,

Do you really have to ask why?
Have you read the web page "What's Not Good About A.A."?
You could start with that and it will tell you 'why'.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange





Date: Mon, October 10, 2005
Subject: AA news flash: Madame Senga gets CURED! Whoa!

(Note: I just sent a similar version of this to another website, Positive Atheist, I confused the two of you! Hope thats OK to resend here? I just want to add my two cents wherever I can on this cult).

Sure, no problem.

Dear A. Orange:

I love your website! THANK YOU! To qualify myself: I'm 48 and I have been in AA for 14 and ½ years. I've been an active female member and I've been a key member in founding meetings and even helped found an entire fellowship that is still on — going for over ten years now. Having said all that:

When I first came into AA in 1991 I was immediately struck by its patriarchal oppressive nature and its overt "christian" tone. I never agreed with the concept that I should suppress all forms of (my) anger and other strong emotion. (Like you, I think anger can be a healthy form of expression. AA makes it a crime!) And did not agree that every time I was victimized that I always had "a part in it". Neither did I let my first sponsor insist I be "on my knees to God" as the "best way" — pagans stand and face the directions. All the same, I stuck around, desperate to stay sober — but an outspoken member who announced herself as "pagan", read "He" as "She" (or "he/she") at meeting level and amused members by chanting a feminized version of the Lords Prayer at the end of every meeting. I think one reason I survived in AA this long has something to do with the fact I went long periods in between sponsors and have only ever had two. (Being independent minded, I thought it absurd to consult someone else on every little detail of how to live my life, once I quit drinking.) I did pretty well following my own instincts. Both women proved, ultimately to be a let down; and one was down right disturbing.

It has been my observation, as a woman in AA, that turning my thoughts and life over to the care of another female addict who is usually sicker than I could ever hope to be... and allowing her to run my life, is not healthy for me — or any woman, or anyone! Most of these women in 12step have never confronted their own "slave mentality" as it has been cultivated in our male-dominated culture. My observation is they all still adhere (albeit perhaps often unconsciously) to the culturally imposed misogynistic parameters — which AA reinforces via its religiosity! (YES, it is religious — not just spiritual!) Knowing that, how could I trust any of them with running MY life? I think sponsorship should really be called The Sick Puppet Master Syndrome. (As written, AA dogma makes it conducive for sponsors to meddle in all aspects of one's life, you can't get around that if it says drinking is a "moral issue" that pervades the addict's entire life. That's a "green light" for bullying on the sponsor's part, right there. They're compelled then to look at everything you do because your alcoholic stinking thinking tainted it, all of it. Supposedly.)

My first sponsor, an elder statesman of many years (well over twenty years sober) tried to pressure me into staying in an ill-matched relationship with a "nice guy" via her dismissive comments. The depression caused from following her advice almost "did me in". (I had revealed to her I still had feelings for another who had "left the fold".) When I finally insisted I was breaking up with this (more respectable/approved) member and did not believe in having regrets over that decision (she kept hinting I would have regrets if I acted rashly, "you're not getting any younger, you know") she cried out in astonishment "Have no regrets?? You can't say that! You're not GOD!!" She then informed me — get this! — that:"Well, if you're going to break up with him, you need to sit down and figure out what took you so long! Ask yourself why this relationship went on as long as it did!" I was only in this relationship a little over 18 months, I had begun to have doubts several months prior to the break up — SHE was the reason "it took me so long!" (And besides: How many times do I have to over-analyze a breakup?? Obviously I'd already given it heavy thought! What? Now I have to analyze the analysis?? I'm sorry, I'm not that obsessive.) By the way, I have NEVER regretted the break up and while I remain single I'm happy to report this (indeed, decent) man whom I remained on good terms with, having let him down as gently as possible, is now in the happiest relationship of his life, a much better match for him. MY instincts were correct — and with way less "sobriety" under my belt than my sponsor.

My second sponsor many years later, proved to be the Sponsor from Hell. Initially nurturing and sweet (I bonded with her so well, I was going to her house once a week) she turned on me when I was laid off from my job along with 35 other people. It was the first time I had ever been laid off in 31 years of employment, having worked since I was sixteen to put food on the table for my family way back when. (I say that to illustrate my level of responsibility, even into my drinking years.) Twelve days into my unemployment, I had hit the ground running! Was attending resume seminars, had my resume up on websites, dry cleaned the interview clothes and was "upping" my meetings and remaining positive. This sponsor having witnessed my chirpy progress. proceeded to go ballistic on me all in one day — making repeated harassing/growling phone calls and making up, out of her own head, frightening "facts" about how I was "in danger", responsible for my own job loss, "letting my anger keep me from working on my resume"(??), lazy, incapable of finding a job on my own and behaving like a "sixteen year old." (An interesting comment, considering how responsible I had been AS a sixteen year old!) I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Good thing I wasn't a newcomer or she could have done major damage turning on me like that when I was "down". As with the first sponsor, she applied a "one size fits all" addict profile to me without knowing my history and disregarding what she did know. It broke my heart but I had enough self respect this time to bellow back at the old biddy, when she wouldn't let up, "Enough! YOU'RE FIRED!" This woman, like so many others I know, is a member of numerous Step groups: OA, Al-Anon and Couples in Recovery. And, I've come to realize, like most Steppers — is HIGHLY DISTURBED. It is now my deeply held belief sponsorship is dangerously crippling to the vulnerable addict and just a case of The Confused Dominating the Soon-to-be More Confused. Deranged minds should not be handed that kind of power over others. 12Step does just that, shame on it!

I could go on and on — and maybe I will. Like the author Elayne Rapping, I began to observe at a more and more alarming rate, how many women around me, including two best friends, were trading in their sense of self for a "more regressive worldview". These ladies were allowing the diplomas they studied for in sobriety (one in law and one in child psychology) to gather dust while they made the Circuit of 12step. (AA-OA-Al-Alon. — start over.) It began to dawn on me as my political activism took off, and they, among many, pulled away from me in flustered embarrassment — that women like these two were living for the applause of the group and its vacuous vicious cycle of Narcissistic Navel Gazing. Their own private lives might have been a mess — but if they could attend OA and lose weight, suppress all signs of anger and submit to the elder statesman alpha white males in AA — whether they truly agreed with their pontificating or not! — then they "looked good" to the group, received the group's approval and admiration — and that was enough, apparently. They were slim and smiling — what more could society ask of them? (I begin to wonder at Ira Levin's choice in naming that fictitious town STEPford! Seriously, could there be a connection? I now wonder). In looking back on my relationship with these two and others, I now realize in the dozen plus years I've known them I have never seen change. They are still the same high-maintenance, self-absorbed, plastic souls they always were! All they learned how to do was wear "the mask" society and AA asked of them. So much for that "Spiritual Awakening"! I've started to lose touch with them but near as I can see all they've ever added to their lives is more and more 12Step groups. For all I know they're now in CODA, GA and SLA as well. (Well maybe its just as well the one doesn't practice law and the other is not in charge of a child's well-being...)

These last 2 to 3 years in the fellowship have been hell. Sheer hell, that I mistakenly was duped into thinking I needed to endure for "my sobriety's" sake! Hah! The war (and other issues like gay marriage) brought out the racist, see-no-evil side of AA big time! I never brought up politics at meeting level. But just a hint of my progressive leanings at casual "gatherings after the meetings" would cause the alpha male Steppers to verbally circle and attack me like sharks, taking chunks out of me, while others — meek betas and omegas in the pack — looked on passively and looked away — my so-called friends, leaving me to my fate!) I have gone from an entire fellowship of so-called "close" friends down to 3 or 4 trusted friends in sobriety, while seeking support and refuge in the Peace and Humanist movements. I got sick of hearing that, regarding the war, "this too shall pass" from silk sheet drunks who have never had a bomb dropped on them. One idiot tried to tell me he was not in a war zone because "that's not God's lesson for me today." !!?! (And it's a lesson for the Iraqis and their children??) AA has literally raised up a hidden army of "Conformist Zombies for God" that is right up there with the rest of the Religious Right. They are VERY DANGEROUS in their complacent citizenry — probably as dangerous as any "born again" zealot, in their own way — and as Kevin Russell observed in his article in American Atheist ("A State religion: AA and NA" 2003) "If democracy is a casualty, they won't know it." SAD BUT TRUE!

And of course, once I began announcing at meeting level, "AA — you people! — have turned me into an atheist." the anger of the "alphas" became even more palpable and threatening. (And keep in mind: I am writing this from liberal northern California!).

I have nothing to do with most of those former close friends — I don't "want what they have!" — and with only 3 exceptions I have NEVER seen ANY of these pious fools at peace vigils or peace demonstrations. In fact, they are made highly uncomfortable by even the mention of war. (Its as if, to admit the war's very existence would refute the existence of their absurd Micro-Managing God — as well it logically should!!!) One close friend — whom I've known since way before 12step! — once remarked defensively concerning my stance on the war (and we weren't even in a meeting at the time!) that: "We have no opinions on outside issues!" What she really mean't was "We have no opinions." Or, more to the point: "We have no Outside!" (By the way, I loved what you said under "Random Thoughts"! Its true. The women check whats left of their spines at the door and I refer to most of the men who aren't bellicose alphas... as AA GELDINGS.)

By the way its interesting to note that some of the most revered "patriarchs" in my neck of AA have interesting "backgrounds" and affiliations. Whether they're bible toting, born again evangelicals, members of The Activity (another cult!) — or sporting criminal records of spousal abuse and/or pedophilia. I've never seen anyone shut these men up, or attempt to — which is odd, because they all try to stop me from talking or sticking up for myself. No, gurus like that (both the bellicose biker types and the pseudo-serene ghandi types) amass followers within AA and even get standing ovations when they speak. The common thread, with some, seems to be their ability to wear a persona of emotion-less serenity. Lack of emotion being a trait AA'ers are taught to admire without question. I have watched men fawn in admiration over the COLD remote member who brags he did not "have to" cry at his own child's funeral!! It's CHILLING what gets admired and touted as "spiritual" in the rooms of AA! I have seen and heard it all.

PS: This email would be another two pages if I commented on the Sexual Predatory aspect of AA and the harm that's done that I've seen, but others on your website have covered that nicely. I would however like to point out that: in keeping with the country its founded in, isn't it "funny" that AAer's are often called on to do a separate "sexual inventory" — as if that is the HEIGHT of importance and needs additional examination beyond the ordinary? — but not a separate "violence inventory"? (Considering we're in a country that would rather look at a president's sex life as opposed to where he's waging war... I guess that would figure, huh? sigh. Again, the religious overtones of "sex equals sin".)

At this point in time I keep most of these thoughts to myself as I "edge along the wall and make my way towards the EXIT sign." I have one "secular format" AA meeting in my county (believe it or not, we have one and it's Central office "approved") I still attend at this time, but I have no sponsor, I do no more "service" or attendance in other rooms, mouth no prayers and I am slowly burning all my twelve step material (I can't give it away, its too corrupting, I'd feel guilty!) I keep only the 6 Steps of S.O.S. (changed to the first person, since there are no meetings in my area) on my refrigerator door. Let's face it, I've been sober by my own hard work this whole time, anyway. God didn't do it, I did.

Once I leave this area — and I am planning to move, eventually — I will leave AA behind as well, for good, all of it. I acknowledge I have met SOME genuinely kind well-meaning souls in AA's rooms... However, for the most part: It is a disturbed cult and on the whole: full of disturbed narcissistic, spiritually-stunted CREEPY people that I wish no further connection with! (Living among them is tantamount to being Darryl Hannah's character in "Clan of the Cave Bear"! And frankly, I'm guessing that cavemen probably had a broader, healthier worldview!) PS: I completely understand why people bury their affiliation with AA. Its not really embarrassment so much as it is: like being in "full flight" from a cult! Because it doesn't even pay to admit you are a former member — even if you wanted to acknowledge out of courtesy that you received some help from this direction. Because, alas, only full lifelong allegiance is acceptable to them! Anything less is a blasphemy in AA's eyes! Any member you run into will view you with suspicion and condemn you as "dry" instead of "sober" once they discover you have pulled away from the fold — as if they have the right to re-define Webster's definition! Such arrogance. (And frankly I'm tired of these idiots walking up into my face and talking to me slowly as if *I* were the insane one! In the 12Step Asylum the inmates are jangling the keys, no question!)

Again, thank you for this website! Keep on getting the word out, keep up the good work! It has helped me get through a difficult and painful "awakening". Thanks too, for having Kasl's book on your Top Ten list! Her book is also getting me through this transition period, she's amazing. Love what a lot of other former AA'ers have said on your site. (As for the naysayers: they're still brainwashed, here's they wake up!) Nice to know I'm in good company.

Don't post my email address, but just sign me CURED.
Madame Senga

Okay, Madame,

Thanks for a great story, and have a good day. — Oh, and yes, isn't Charlotte Kasl just such a joy to read?

== Orange





Date: Mon, October 10, 2005
Subject: hi

Hi,

Just stumbled on your web page. I thought it was extraordinary.

I'm an atheist in AA (with 15 yrs. sobriety) and have always hated the 'God stuff.' I really think you put it all quite well. Obviously well researched too.

Thanks a lot?

Doug

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Wed, October 12, 2005
Subject: Bill Wilson A.A. Big Boss (Not)

To Mr or Mrs A.Orange,

enjoyed your pages on Bill Wilson "Our" Beloved Founder & Saviour, I like one of "his" quotes from the 12x12 book, don't take life to seriously, its the classic story of human nature, don't do as i do, but do as i say (a bit of a control freak), AA has helped many human beings, but as in Life where there is a positive, there is also a negative, I think AA is a CULT, and Cults the World Over have 2 things In Common, they Rule With FEAR & CONTROL........

Life Is For Living & Enjoying, It's Too Short........

*Alan.... Scotland       I wear the same Halo as Bill Wilson (Not).....*

Hi Alan,

Yes, I agree. Wouldn't it be nice if that "Don't take life so seriously" remark was read out loud at the start of every meeting, instead of that stuff about "NEVER have we seen a person fail... constitutionally incapable of being honest..."

And in the interests of not being too serious, let's all go read The Jokes Page. (I added a few new ones.)

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
* Heisenberg said, "I'm not really sure if    *
* that even was Shrödinger's cat.   I think   *
* he might have used somebody else's cat..."  *


[2nd letter from Alan:]

Date: Thu, October 13, 2005
Subject: Apathy Kills

Hi Orange, had a wee look @ your site on A.A., it will appeal to some A.A.'s and it will "upset" other A.A.'s, and as in LIFE the vast Majority will just get on with Life, +/- ying yang, I stay sober, and get on with Life, Why ? Because thats what the Rest of The HUMAN Family Does, Capitalism, Politicians, War, Hate & Global Warming Etc Etc Etc are Killing Our World & The Human Family, But "every" thing is O.K. in the A.A. Bubble, as long as Alkies don't drink...... Talk about Bury your Head in the Sand ......

*Alan.... Scotland.... p.s. my Real Name Is Secret Agent Banana... (Honest) *

Hi again, Alan, and thanks for the comments and the laugh.

Have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Wed, October 12, 2005
Subject: AA

If AA doesn't work, what does?

Hi Carl,

The answer is so simple that lots of people miss it:

If you want to quit drinking, then quit drinking.

Just quit drinking.

Just don't put any more alcohol in your mouth.

Just stop drinking alcohol.

You don't need any program or organization for that. Quitting drinking basically happens in about 5 seconds. That's about how long it takes to really make the big decision.

For me the magic moment was when a friend took me out for pizza. I had already sort of decided to quit drinking, had resigned myself to quitting, knew that I had to quit. My doctor had told me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." And I knew that he wasn't joking. I had also ended up homeless. I was just so sick that I couldn't work, so I got way behind on the bills and got evicted. Cloudy as my mind was, I could see that things weren't working out right. So I decided to quit drinking.

Out on the streets, I had tapered off and pretty much drank nothing for the previous week, but had taken a few sips when people offered me hits off of their drinks. Then my status as a veteran got me a place in a homeless shelter and I was slated to start an alcoholism treatment program in a few weeks. Then a friend showed up and offered to take me out for pizza.

At the pizza parlor, I ordered pizza and a beer. I sort of figured that just one wouldn't hurt, or some such thinking. Then a little voice inside me said, "If you are really going to do this thing, if you are really going to quit, then let's not be fucking around." I changed that order for a beer to a lemonaid. And that was it. That was 5 years ago, and I haven't had a drink since.
[UPDATE: 2014.06.30: Now it's 13 ½ years that I haven't had a drink, or a cigarette, or a hit of dope. And it feels good.]

Now I suspect that what you are looking for is something that will help you to develop the resolve to quit drinking. Perhaps you need something to help you to break out of old habits and strengthen your will power and clarify your thinking. That is a different issue. I recommend two things for that: SMART and Rational Recovery.

SMART teaches mental techniques like Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, which is really just a high-falutin way of saying that you should practice weighing the benefits and costs of some course of action (like drinking or doping), and also examining your beliefs and ripping out by the roots old irrational beliefs. SMART meetings are good things. Going to a bunch of them can help.

You can also read these books:
== When AA Doesn't Work for You, Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol, by Albert Ellis, Ph.D., and Emmett Velten, Ph.D.
== The Small Book, by Jack Trimpey
for more about rational thinking and rational recovery techniques.

Also check out the other 20 or 30 books on that "Top 10" list.

Rational Recover is no longer an organization or a meeting; it is a book. The heart of it is the realization that we have a primitive old reptilian brain inside our heads that is so stupid that it will never stop believing that smoking, drinking and drugging are fun and feel great, just as good as food and sex. And old lizard brain will never stop yammering about how we should just have a little one now. See Trimpey's book Rational Recovery, and also read my web page on The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. Not allowing that little monster to seduce me back into smoking and drinking is a BIG part of my recovery.

Good luck, and have a good day. Don't hesitate to write back if you have any further questions or issues.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Being surrounded by a group of people who keep telling
**  you that you are powerless over alcohol, and that your
**  will power is useless, is not getting "support".
**  It is getting sabotaged.
**  With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.





Date: Thu, October 13, 2005
Subject: Bill W

Hey Mr. Orange:

Why have you got such a hate on for Bill W.? Sure, he was an egoist and belonged to a 50's paradigm or modality of thought. But surely the program of AA has helped more people than it has harmed. And the spirit if the Big Book, although it does have its moments of odd sounding logic and ideology, is one of generosity, of wanting to help others. Whereas the spirit of your papers seems to me to be one of vitriol and passive-aggressive self-righteousness. I hate to say it, but I think you have a RESENTMENT. Why, exactly? What's your story? Please tell me, what were your intentions here? Are you yourself a recovered alcoholic? I don't believe Bill was a Saint, but I do find his writings nonetheless helpful in my own struggle to understand addictions and how to overcome them. Would you recommend a different approach, another philosophy, a better book perhaps?

Curious,
Robyn

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for the letter.

You asked, "Why such 'hatred' for Bill W.?"

I think it is a really low despicable crime to lie to sick people about what might cure them.

It is also the lowest of the low to use religion to deceive and manipulate people. As Mahatma Ghandi said,

I know of no greater sin than to oppress the innocent in the name of God.
== Mahatma Gandhi, April 1947.
All Men Are Brothers, Mahatma Gandhi, page 73.

You parrot the standard A.A. malarkey about "having a resentment". I really can't count how many times I've heard that, but I'll try. Look

  1. here and
  2. here and
  3. here and
  4. here and
  5. here and
  6. here and
  7. here and
  8. here and
  9. here and
  10. here and
  11. here.
I guess that might do for starters.

But just for fun, for giggles and grins, just for a different approach, let's say that *I do* "have a resentment", a really big fat healthy monster of a resentment.

So what?

What then? What happens? Does the sky fall? Does my head explode? Do I instantly relapse?

That can't be true, because I have 5 years of sobriety now, and my resentment against Bill Wilson has grown stronger, not weaker, over the years, as I have read more and more of his books and learned more of the real truth about him, and learned more of the real truth about Alcoholics Anonymous.

Then you asked, "Why, exactly? What's your story? Please tell me, what were your intentions here? Are you yourself a recovered alcoholic?"

Obviously, you haven't read a lot of my pages if you don't know whether I'm a recovered alcoholic. Start with

You asked, "Why?" I've answered that question so many times that I'll just point you to the answers here, and here, and here.

Just a few minutes ago, I answered the question about what else might help, so I'll point you to that answer here.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange


[2nd letter from Robyn:]

Date: Mon, October 31, 2005
Subject: Re: Bill W

Dear Mr. Orange,

Here is just one of your innumerable failures at a fair treatment of your subject (occurring one after the other on every page):

"Then Step Twelve tells you to go recruiting, to draft more alcoholics into this madness."

Wrong. If you've been around AA even a few weeks you'll surely hear one of the AA sayings, repeated ad nauseum: "Attraction rather than promotion." Or the responsibility pledge: "When anyone anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that I am responsible." In other words, there is no recruiting in AA. In fact, the opposite approach is practiced.

Your ignorance on this point alone disqualifies you from making any judgments regarding AA that are of any value. It is obvious you are coming from an extremely biased point of view, and that you are not a scholar, although you poorly pretend to be.

Hello again, Robyn,

I am not ignorant on that point. I know all of the facts, which you seem to be pointedly ignoring.

When A.A. declares that it is a program of attraction, not promotion, that is just a hypocritical lie. A.A. has always been a program of coercion and promotion, not attraction. Alcoholics Anonymous has been practicing coercive recruiting since Day One. The book Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers describes how Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson shoved their Oxford Group cult religion "treatment" on A.A. Number Three, Bill Dotson, when he was in the hospital:

... they thought it a good idea to have a preliminary talk with his wife. And this became part of the way things were done in the early days: Discuss it first with the wife; find out what you could; then plan your approach. It should be noted, as well, that the alcoholic himself didn't ask for help. He didn't have anything to say about it.
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, pages 82-83.

Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob actually felt entitled to shove their own cult religion on other alcoholics regardless of the patient's wishes or beliefs — "for his own good" — the patient didn't get any say in the matter. (That is still the attitude of many so-called counselors and therapists today.)

By the way, The book Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers is official "council-approved" A.A. history.

And nothing has changed in the following 65 years. In the November 2002 issue of Grapevine, A.A. pundits summarized the results from the most recent official A.A. Triennial Survey. It revealed that 61% of the current A.A. membership was coerced, pressured, or shoved into A.A. by the criminal justice system or health care systems, or employee diversion programs, or co-workers, or family. That is not a program of attraction.

Furthermore, "if you've been around AA even a few weeks" (to use your phrase), then you have undoubtedly seen people handing in those slips of paper to get signatures for the court or some program or other. Those people are forced to be at those meetings, OR ELSE. That is coercion and promotion, not attraction. And you know that. You can't NOT know it. You have eyes that work. You can see what is going on. So you are in denial of what is in front of your face.

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

Read these two items for the rest of the details about A.A. recruiting:

P.S.: I forgot to even mention that all of chapter 7 of the Big Book is the recruiting manual. Look here for a discussion of that: Recruiting Mind Games.

From The Orange papers I only see how unabashedly prejudiced you are in your views against AA. The statistics you site are unreliable to say the least and of course statistics in studies like these mean little to nothing. Your ''arguments' are skewed in a manner akin to bad sophomoric rhetoric. This is not a rigorous criticism of AA, this is a blatant rant of a small intellect and a big resentment. I could pick your 'papers' apart as easily as plucking the wings off of a dead fly, but I'm not so sadistic as that, nor do I have the time.

Again, I ask you, why have you put so much effort into such nay-saying speechifying? You seem like a very damaged person who is pointing the finger at AA #8212; admittedly, not a perfect organization, which yes, does have some of the /superficial /trappings of a cult #8212; as the cause of your damage. But hey, if you actually did the steps thoroughly yourself then you might begin to look at the true culprit, which is you. Don't be afraid. You can do it! Really, physician, heal thy self.

Love Robyn

Well Robyn, the reason that I put so much effort into it is because somebody has to tell the truth to counter the river of lies that comes out of the A.A. propaganda machine to promote 12-Step quack medicine. You should ask why so many people expend so much effort to promote a program that has a zero-percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission. (Besides to make money...)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.





Date: Thu, October 13, 2005
Subject: much thanks...

Dear Mr. Orange,

I have been frequenting your web site for over a year now. I feel it's about time to write and let you know how important the information contained on your site is. You certainly have done a lot of research. Your site has confirmed a lot of the things I have witnessed and encountered the last several years. I will sometimes have to stop reading an article because my emotions get the best of me. I would consider myself a victim of the 12 step industry but we both know it does me no good now. The important thing is that I have finally gotten out of the 12 step "mentality" and am beginning to know peace. It's ironic and sad that the people/institutions I turned to made things worse. I am now recovering from an addiction and the abuses doled out by a dysfunctional religious cult. I know... as if there was any other type of cult. Like you I hope to use my anger (outrage) to help others so they don't have to experience what I went through. I believe that I belong to the category of alcoholics that don't get sober through 12 step indoctrination and don't have the sense to get off the merry-go-round in time. I know there are others... some of them people I care about. It's sad to see them go in and out of the "hallowed" rooms of AA and endure the disillusionment, lies, deceit, condescension... all of the bullshit. It's so cruel.

Anyway, I remember when your site was out of order for a period. I was devastated to say the least. Your hard work and diligence has resulted in a "one stop" source of information. I feel I should at least ask if I can help in some way... maybe a donation or something. It's very important to me that you remain online. As a health care provider I have also been mandated to rehab and 12 step attendance. I hope to avoid any type of " treatment" in the future. Of course staying sober will undoubtably help. I'm still concerned about being in "compliance" and forced into attending meetings or lying about it. It's truly an absurd situation. The addiction industry/recovery group movement (per Jack Trimpey) is in my experience a juggernaut of sorts. There is just too much money/job security at stake for people in the field to do anything but the status quo. It is as one author wrote a "great American tragedy". More of a travesty really.

Ok well keep up the good work. I hope to begin writing (journaling) some of my experiences, observations and feelings. Who knows, it may someday make a good book. I also wanted to say that it's funny to read some of the "hate mail" that you receive. It doesn't surprise me that most of it is written by morons who can never argue a point or engage in any type of intelligent /logical discussion or debate. Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Chris

Wow, Chris, thanks for all of the complements. That kind of stuff really brightens my day, and makes me feel like I might be on the right track after all.

You have a good day too.

== Orange





Date: Thu, October 13, 2005
Subject: Battling the validity of Alcoholics Anonymous

Hi there,

My name is Alan S. and I need some information from you about alcoholics anonymous. I really don't have all the time in the world at this very moment, but I am in the middle of a long term debate which is starting to look as if it may get a bit nasty. The debate is with my ex-drug and alcohol counselors who insist that AA works, and more ridiculous than that, insist that AA works substantially better than non-treatment.

The arguement started to get nasty on one counselors part when I was told more than once that I was talking out of my ass. I brought in all 115 pages of your webpage bound together as proof to my claims, but this was, of course, not enough. So, what I am in search of are statistics which can be traced. I need to find statistics on the recovery of individuals without treatment programs, and also through the use of Rational Recovery, SMART etc. They are under the impression that although I hold documented research and statistics in my hands I can not judge the validity of AA's claims without having participated in the program myself. That "if you have not eaten spinach how can you say that spinach is gross?" We both know, and I told him, that such logic is, well, illogical. I was told that "we deal with intangibles here." It got absurd. I was laughed at, literally laughed at, by this counselor who sounds nothing short of a hyenna when I called what they're doing to people sad and ridiculous.

If you have a phone number where I could reach you then I would gladly pay the cost of the call. Speaking as the closest person to a pacifist who I know personally, I find it somewhat regrettable to say that I felt a great urge to slap these men upside their heads with your essay towards the end of the conversation.

My name is Alan S. and my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx

I live on the west coast and I am home only in the evenings any given day of the week.

This means a lot to me especially considering that I was told upon asking if I could come in and tell each meeting that they were not required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous that "fine you can do that, but when these people die of alcoholism then their deaths are on your head." I was once again told that I was speaking from ignorance as well as out of my ass. There is one other counselor who is, although no more logical or rational, a bit more reasonable to speak with.

I am, of course, speaking of the counselor addicted to cigarettes and not coffee.

I can jokingly say that it was fate and an act of divine intervention which brought me to your website!

Never could it have been by my own doing!

Nothing could ever be!

Thanks again, Alan S.

!!!Captian Ggooins

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the letter. Boy do I have something to say.

First off, those counselors who are promoting the 12-Step program are pulling the propaganda trick of Shift the Burden of Proof Onto Your Opponent. They are insisting that you prove that A.A. doesn't work.
Wrong.
That is not your job.
They are the ones who are making outrageous claims of efficacy for cult religion quack medicine, so it is their job to prove that A.A. *does* work.

And of course no evidence of the inefficacy of 12-Step treatment that you supply to those counselors will satisfy them. They would have no jobs if they admitted that their big cure was just selling ineffective cult religion to the suckers.

There is no valid proof that A.A. works, or that treatment programs based on A.A. work.
None whatsoever.
I have been sincerely looking for five years, and it isn't there.
I have also had a challenge out there, challenging the A.A.-boosters to come up with just one valid Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study that proved the efficacy of 12-Step treatment. I have received a few references to faked studies, but nothing even half-ways valid. Nothing in 5 years. (The true-believer Steppers have called me every name in the book for 5 years, but they have never bothered to send a single report of a medically valid test that made A.A. look good. Not one.)

What you must demand — constantly demand, and don't back down on this point — is:

Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies.

What that means is:

  1. "Controlled" means that there is a control group. That is, a group that gets no treatment or help of any kind. So you are really testing two similar groups of people. Ideally, the *only* difference between the two groups is that one gets the treatment (A.A. and the 12 Steps), and the other group gets nothing.

  2. The patients or clients must be selected to go into the treatment group or the control group randomly. Throw dice or pick names out of a hat. No cherry-picking is allowed, where all of the most promising patients go into the A.A.-treated group.
    (I know about that stunt — I was chosen for treatment on the basis of having quit drinking once before, all on my own, and having stayed sober for 3 years, all on my own. They felt that made me a good candidate for their A.A.-based treatment program to teach me how to stay sober for 6 months. And can you believe that they count me as one of their rare success stories in their phony claims of success?)

  3. "Longitudinal" means that the test goes on for a long time. (Like preferably for at least a year, or even 5 or 8 years.) Just counting the "success stories" the day of "graduation" from the program is as phony as a 3-dollar bill. Many, many people relapse in the month following treatment. Treatment doesn't last. It doesn't have any holding power.

  4. Also, no cherry-picking of the results is allowed. The proponents of A.A. treatment cannot rationalize away the failures by saying that "they didn't try hard enough", or "they didn't really want to quit", or "they didn't work the steps right", or "they didn't keep coming back".
    ALL of the patients count, without exception.
    (Many treatment programs only report their "graduates" and talk about how great they are doing. But only the sober ones "graduate", so they are cherry-picking the winners, and only talking about their success stories.)
    They must count all of the clients who were assigned to their group. No excuses. (When doctors are testing medicines, they don't accept the excuse that the medicine didn't work because the patient didn't pray right.)

  5. At the end of that long time, you add up the scores, and see how many alcoholics got and stayed sober, and how many died, and how many are still drinking.
    You might also ask about moderate drinking — how many have transitioned into just having a few once in a while, without getting into trouble over it?
    You might also want to ask how many got repeatedly rearrested for public drunkenness, and how many are doing worse binge drinking than before.
    You could also ask about imprisonment, suicides, employment status, mental health, and many other such things.

  6. Then you compare the results from the two groups to see what A.A. and the 12 Steps really did for the alcoholics.

Have such tests ever been done? Oh yes, for sure, yes. And the results were that A.A. was a total failure. In some cases it was *far worse* than getting no help or treatment of any kind.

  1. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. indoctrination greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics.
  2. Dr. Keith Ditman found that A.A. involvement increased the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness in a group of street drunks.
  3. Dr. Diana Walsh found that A.A. just messed up a lot of alcoholics and made them require more expensive hospitalization later on.
  4. In England, a British team of researchers, Drs. Orford and Edwards, et. al., found that just having a doctor speak to alcoholics for a single hour, telling them to quit drinking or they were going to die, was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based "treatment".
  5. The most damning test of all was done by one of the leaders of A.A., Doctor and Professor George E. Vaillant, who is also just about the biggest A.A. booster in the world. He just loves A.A. and thinks that everybody should get shoved into it. Doctor George E. Vaillant is also a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and he is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. Vaillant clearly demonstrated that A.A. treatment kills patients. For eight years, his A.A.-based treatment program had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied. Vaillant also candidly admitted that the A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate. At the end of 8 years, his results with his first 100 patients were: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. But 5% is also the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics. That's how many quit drinking each year without any treatment. So 5 minus 5 yields zero, the real A.A. success rate.

    So while they are so quick to accuse you of killing alcoholics by depriving the clients of the A.A. magic, they are stubbornly ignoring the report from an A.A. leader who declared that the death rate of the A.A. program was "appalling". That kind of hypocrisy is just so typical of a cult.

All of those studies can be traced back to their source. The links to those studies will give you the original publications.

That brings up another question to ask those counselors: "What is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics?"

If they say zero, they are lying, and trying to claim all of the cases of spontaneous remission as their own success stories. The most realistic answer is about 5% per year. Also look at what Dr. Sheldon Zimberg wrote about spontaneous remission.

That spontaneous remission number creates big problems for those counselors, because it reveals that all they are doing is taking credit for those people who were going to quit anyway, or who did just quit a week or two before starting treatment. (Like I did.)

You said that you printed the web site, and it was 115 pages. I suspect that you must be looking at a very old version of the web site, somewhere. When I last printed it out, about 4 years ago, it was about that size, and it has gotten *much* larger. (So large that I wouldn't consider printing it on paper again. I tell people to burn CDs from the archive files.)

Make sure that you are looking at www.orange-papers.org, and especially look at the web page on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment. You will find references to all of the valid studies of the efficacy of 12-step treatment that I've been able to find in the last 5 years. And there isn't a single test that shows that A.A. is anything like a successful treatment program. Every single time that A.A. was put to the test, it failed.

If you hear of talk about other kinds of studies than Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies, be very wary. They are usually invalid and faked. One of the most outrageous terms is "anecdotal study". That is what the Big Book is. An anecdotal study means that somebody just collects a bunch of stories that say what he wants the audience to hear:

"Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Step right up. This wonderful snake oil cures whatever ails you. Why Joe Blow here was sick as a dog and talking about what he wanted on his headstone, until he drank 5 bottles of Dr. Phineas T. Farnsworth's Magic Snake Oil Elixir and now he's up and chasing the pretty girls around the block. Hurry! Hurry! Get it while it lasts!"

A "survey of the professional literature" is another faked study. That means that they collect pro-A.A. articles written by other A.A. boosters and conclude that everybody agrees that A.A. works great. (That's the propaganda trick of Everybody Knows, as in "Everybody knows that the world is flat. There is no question about it.")

Also watch out for phony "studies" that find that the treatment program's "graduates" are much more sober than some other group of alcoholics. That is comparing apples to oranges, and it is also pulling a switcheroo. As mentioned above, the "graduates" are a cherry-picked minority of the people who started the program. The real question to ask is, "How many of the incoming clients actually 'graduate'?" Usually the answer is only about 10%. If you compare ALL of the patients who start the program to a similar group of alcoholics who didn't get the treatment, then you see that the program isn't all that good.

And then there is the big question of how long the improvement lasts. They usually get a temporary improvement, just a little boost caused by encouragement in the treatment program, but it wears off quickly and most of the graduates relapse. Treatment centers seem to usually get about a 10% success rate, but it gradually drops to 5% as the graduates relapse. 5% is just the normal rate of spontaneous remission, which leaves the treatment centers with a real success rate of zero percent. That's why the treatment centers really don't want to do long-term studies and see how many graduates are still sober 1, 3, or 5 years later.

I recently ran into a counselor from the housing I was in during my treatment, and she told me that, after 4 years, I was *the only one* who still had not relapsed, out of more than 100 people going through the program then. And I'm the one who actually quit drinking two weeks before the program started.

That brings up another item: motivation. The people who are seeking treatment are a very different population from the other alcoholics who don't want to quit drinking. Comparing a bunch of willing patients who want to quit drinking to a bunch of hard-core, committed street drunks will always make the treatment program look good. But the treatment program isn't actually doing anything beneficial there. The differences between the two groups have nothing whatsoever to do with the treatment program.

Somebody did a study that I would like to find where they not only studied a treatment program's patients, they also studied another group of people who wanted to get into the treatment program but who could not, for one reason or another. Perhaps they didn't have the money, or their health insurance wouldn't cover it, or something. Nevertheless, later, like at the 1-year point, those who got the treatment and those who only wanted to get it were equally sober. Those people who wanted treatment but who couldn't get it just went out and quit drinking anyway, all by themselves, without any treatment. Obviously, what is really being measured in a lot of invalid studies is the motivation of the patients, not the efficacy of the treatment program.

Another false comparison to watch out for is Upscale/Downscale comparisons. Some expensive clinic that charges $10,000 or $15,000 (in advance) for a 28-day-long A.A. meeting will compare their graduates to "alcoholics in general", and find that their graduates are much more successful in staying sober. Yeh, and their patients are also much more successful in scrounging up 15,000 dollars than the street drunks are.

Rich people usually fare better because they haven't lost everything like the real down-and-out alcoholics have. Somebody did another study that found that the upscale people always did better, because they still had a lot to lose. They were highly motived to get their act together and keep from losing it all. The street drunks had little left to lose, other than their lives (which they tended to feel weren't worth much).

Also watch out for programs that cherry-pick the patients going into the program. There is a drug treatment program in this town that recruits at the local city detox center, and only picks those addicts whom they feel sure won't relapse (and pull down their averages). That program won't even take their own graduates who have relapsed. And they have a bad habit of erasing failures from the books. ("Joe? Joe who? Joe didn't relapse. He was never in our program in the first place.") That is classic Enron-style accounting, which is something that some treatment programs are also good at.

After all of that, the treatment program proudly proclaims that their clients commit a whole lot fewer crimes than the other addicts who are out stealing to get a fix. The "counselors" carefully cherry-pick those people who will commit fewer crimes, and then they claim that they have reduced the crime rate of their clients, and they proudly crow "Treatment works!"

And they take city, state, and federal tax dollars to run that scam. A lot of this so-called "treatment industry" is little more than organized crime.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

UPDATE: 2013.01.22: There is another description of how to do a randomized longitudinal controlled study here:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters169.html#RLCS


[2nd letter from Alan:]

Date: Thu, December 15, 2005 3:38
From: "Alan S."
Subject: Re: Battling the validity of Alcoholics Anonymous

You have no idea what this reply has set into motion.

Thank you so much.

Cool, and you are welcome.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange





Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: question for you

Dear Agent Orange,

I would not write this, but I keep coming across your work every time I look up anything pertaining to AA.

I try hard to keep an open mind when it doesn't come naturally. I admit your papers contain many valid points, but I am curious as to why you have put forth so much effort to undermine the efforts of this group. I know hypocrites both in and out of AA — sure — it bothers me when someone is at the podium and I know they are not a good example of AA principles at work. I've even been screwed over by someone as such and have to know they are speaking at conferences — hard for anyone to deal with. But I've come to some conclusions:

I look at my own spiritual growth and without going into too much detail, see that even the worst examples in AA have brought some of my greatest spiritual lessons. And I have had the pleasure and the pain of being a bad example myself. In other words, there is a greater picture at work and sometimes it is the Angel in Devil's clothing (or visa versa) that simply delivered the message. That is what I benefit from paying attention to — not the messenger.

So why dissect the messengers???

I would hold the facts and opinions you weave up to a far better light were they not drenched in scorn and bias oozing and seething through every exposed thread. In other words I actually enjoy reading some of your work but get really turned off by what appears to me to be ulterior motives based on grudges.

Why?

Hello Injoyon,

Thanks for the letter.

You are mixing apples and oranges. I am talking about the total failure of A.A. as a treatment program for alcoholics, and you are talking about how spiritual it makes you feel. Those two things have little or nothing to do with each other.

Is A.A. supposed to be a quit-drinking program, or is it a religion?

It seems to be more of a religion for you, because I notice that you did not mention alcohol, sobriety, or quitting drinking even once. It's all about "spirituality".

I think that it is horribly unspiritual to lie to sick people and tell them that A.A. works great when it doesn't. Do you think that is "spiritual"?

I think that it is horribly unspiritual to deceive sick people to get them to join Alcoholics Anonymous. What do you think about that?

And I don't think it is very spiritual to promote a religion that is as bizarre and heretical as Alcoholics Anonymous. Have you read the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps? What do you think about that?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.


[2nd letter from Injoyon:]

Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: PS

I have had personal experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder — It's not something you should throw around lightly. These people are shells of people — they are incapable of admitting any fault. To actually look at their part would cause a puncture to their NP that is too great to withstand. They would never see a specialist or psychologist. (FYI — the NPD I know stands at the podium of AA — it drives me crazy. I've concluded he is not at fault — he seems to have been born that way — he is genuinely wired differently — it is all he knows — it is his very nature.)

Hello again, Injoyon.

I do not throw that NPD term around lightly. In fact, I did not even use it for the first few years that I was writing about Bill Wilson. I spoke more about delusions of grandeur. I only gradually transitioned over to concluding that NPD was a very good diagnosis of Bill's behavior after reading a good many books about both Bill and NPD.

Do you know that when Bill officially handed over the fellowship his depression lifted? Do you suppose it was an overwhelming burden he carried for reasons unknown to even him? (Like can you imagine it could be possible that even for Bill, there WAS a power bigger than him at work??)

Yes, I know that Bill officially handed over the leadership, and I also know that he didn't mean to do it. Bill wanted to appear to be noble and selfless, and he was under the misimpression that the Board of Trustees would just rubber-stamp his dictates. But they didn't.

When Bill wanted A.A.W.S. to pay his mistress Helen Wynn out of his royalty income, they concluded that it would be very unwise to mix Bill's sexual affairs with the finances of the Alcoholic Foundation, and told Bill to pay his mistresses himself. Bill was furious at their effrontery.

After the Trustees voted against Bill on another issue, Bill wrote a sarcastic self-pitying letter to the Board of Trustees, saying that he hoped that they would still see fit to allow him to have an office in the A.A. headquarters.

Nan Robertson wrote that Bill Wilson would vacation in Vermont, and then,

Bill returned home from these trips refreshed, ready to do battle again with the trustees.
Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 57.

The original group of alcoholics had sought out the best and wisest men that they could find to be the Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation, but all that Bill Wilson could do was constantly "do battle" with them and fight to get his own way about everything.

In the end, Bill Wilson simply tired of the combat and moved out to the country and spent most of his time at his home Stepping Stones. He didn't go to A.A. meetings and he had very little to do with A.A. any more, other than cashing the royalty checks. Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's private secretary, wrote that the other A.A. members were having a hard time accepting the fact that the founder of A.A. was not actually in A.A. any more.

You stated that, "They [NPD cases] would never see a specialist or psychologist."
It looks like you are over-generalizing from just one case, the guy you knew. What the doctors and psychiatrists say is that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are prone to suffering from terrible depression, and yes, they will seek medical aid on occasion.

Even when he [a Narcissistic Legend in His Own Mind] goes through periods of depression, during which he talks about what a terrible person he is, what [he] is looking for is not advice on how to do things better, but someone to reassure him of what he knows in his heart — that he's just fine the way he is.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., pages 141-142.

The psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Lowen described the behavior of a narcissistic patient named Erich:

Another aspect of narcissism that was evident in Erich's personality was his need to project an image. He presented himself as someone committed to "doing good for others," to use his words. But this image was a perversion of reality. What he called "doing good for others" represented an exercise of power over them, which, despite his stated good intentions, verged on the diabolical. Under the guise of doing good, for instance, Erich exploited his girlfriend: He got her to love him without any loving response on his part. Such exploitativeness is common to all narcissistic personalities.
Narcissism, Denial of the True Self, Alexander Lowen, M.D., page 5.

Bill Wilson's own psychiatrist, Dr. Tiebout, criticized Bill Wilson by saying that he had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of "His Majesty the Baby".

That sounds very close to infantile narcissism.

I think you take many things out of context. Why so much effort to biasly expose detail after detail in order to back your personal opinions/motives??

No, I do not take things out of context. I am very careful not to change or distort the meaning of things that I quote. We have been over this before. Look here.

Why not remain objective — your points would be far better met then.

Actually, I try very hard to be objective, like when I insist on Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies to support claims of success in treating alcoholics. And everybody, including A.A., Rational Recovery, SMART, and any other treatment program must meet the same strict standards of proof before they claim success. And I don't even credit SMART with anything more than a two percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission (which is 5%, so SMART gets a total success rate of maybe 7%). That is being objective.

Perhaps you meant something other than "objective". Perhaps you meant non-critical or unemotional, like that I am not supposed to feel contempt for people who calmly lie to sick people about what will cure them. If you are looking for that kind of emotional deadness, well, you won't find it here.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[3rd letter from Injoyon:]

Dear Agent Orange,
Thank you for responding to me. Yahoo placed this in bulk mail and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to figure that out. My responses are in red.

Orange: So Injoyon's original letter was in black, my responses were in blue, her responses are in red, and my responses to those responses are in green. (I think we are going to run out of colors pretty soon.)

Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: question for you

Hello Injoyon,

Thanks for the letter.

You are mixing apples and oranges. I am talking about the total failure of A.A. as a treatment program for alcoholics, and you are talking about how spiritual it makes you feel. Those two things have little or nothing to do with each other.

You misunderstand me. I am talking about how time and again your rationale is contaminated with your bias, overshadowing and undermining your own work and secondly wondering why the (personal) grudge? To illustrate I could debate any number of most points you try to make in your essays, but I will use an example from your opening paragraph right here.
"I am talking about the total failure of A.A. as a treatment program for alcoholics."

True to form, you have again left the realm of logic and entered the seething caldron of debate. Come on Agent Orange, anybody can prove just about anything anymore. It's not rocket science. I can prove 1 = 2. So what is your point? And better yet, why are you so driven to make it?

Time and again you try to appeal logically by sifting through the cornucopia of scandalous tidbits riddled in personalities to corroborate your own bias. Most of us are completely dumbfounded and left to wonder"

No, Injoyon, it is you who is leaving the realm of reason. You are trying to dismiss all logic and reason as invalid just because valid medical tests showed Alcoholics Anonymous to be completely ineffective and useless as a cure for alcoholism, and in fact downright harmful — increasing the rate of binge drinking, and increasing the death rate.

The statement that "anybody can prove just about anything anymore" is completely untrue. That is just an attempt to use the debating trick Escape via Relativism "It's just one guy's opinion versus another, and anything could be true. We never know anything for sure." Not so.

You can't just "prove" anything. Can you prove that the world is flat? Can you prove that diseases are caused by evil witches casting spells and putting hexes on people?

We do know some things for sure. The world is round, not flat. Bacteria and viruses cause diseases, not the old lady down the street casting spells and hexes. The moon is not made of green cheese. Alcoholics Anonymous does not have a good success rate in curing alcoholism. And we know that "1 = 2" is bad mathematics. (I challenge you to prove that "1 = 2".)

When I talk about proof, I am talking about carefully controlled medical studies, Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies. Such studies are carefully designed and conducted in a controlled manner to eliminate errors, bias, and false conclusions.

When you talk about proof, you mean a bunch of lies and deceptions strung together with a bunch of propaganda and debating tricks, like how politicians talk. That isn't proof of anything.

what the hell happened to you Orange? Who hurt you? I am not going to debate with you what is success.

Well that is really dodging the issues. That is about the single most important issue in the whole argument about Alcoholics Anonymous, and you are going to run away from the debate and refuse to discuss success?

You just admitted defeat.

You won't argue about the A.A. success rate because you really know what a huge failure A.A. really is. Everything else is pretty irrelevant when A.A. has no better a success rate in sobering up alcoholics than doing nothing.

As for "total", well that includes a sum total, inclusive of its parts — ie) everyone. I fail to see how A.A. reached the far corners of the world were this true. "Total failure" appears nothing short of a descriptive based on erroneous opinion in attempts to further your own agenda. The very same thing you accuse Bill Wilson of over and over.

It doesn't matter what you fail to see. That is not evidence. A.A. reaches to the furthest corners of the globe just like how Scientology does. And the Moonies. And lots of other cults. They succeed because they are good at recruiting and deceiving and playing mind games on their victims. And they are good at playing games to gain money and power.

And the term "total failure" is accurate. Go read what a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Dr. Prof. George E. Vaillant, reported after he tested A.A. on alcoholics for 8 years: A zero-percent success rate (zero percent more sobriety than doing nothing), coupled with an "appalling" death rate.

A zero-percent success rate along with a 29% death rate is total failure.

And, I beg to differ with erroneous point #2
    "Those two things have little or nothing to do with each other."

What!!?? If I am not mistaken, A.A.'s treatment IS spirituality. Yep, that's what the treatment is. That is no secret kept from new people. It is explained in the Doctor Silkworth's Opinion at the forefront of A.A.'s basic text" and in about every chapter thereafter. It is talked about at meetings, at beginner meetings. It's in the steps and read at every meeting. The new person has a choice, stay or go. I fail to see where the big lie is.

No A.A. is not spirituality, not unless you consider lying and deceiving and deceptive recruiting and cult religion to be "spirituality". There is a huge difference between superstition and spirituality.

Likewise, Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult was not spirituality, either — it was another lying cult with some really bad recruiting practices — and that is what the Twelve Steps are — the Oxford Group program for brainwashing the newcomers.

You "fail to see where the big lie is"? You use that "I fail to see" phrase rather often. Haven't you noticed that? You are revealing that you refuse to see the truth. Your failure to see is evidence of nothing but your failure to see.

If you want to see the Big Lie, read the file The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A.. I already wrote it all down. Also see What's Not Good about A.A. for more on the Big Lie.

Is A.A. supposed to be a quit-drinking program, or is it a religion?

" Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem."

Yada, yada, yada. That is the standard propaganda. Quoting cult propaganda to me doesn't prove anything except that the cult says that. Notice how they totally forgot to mention the "God" or "Higher Power" Who is present in half of the 12 Steps.

That was just another attempt to dodge the point, Injoyon. A.A. is a cult religion, not a successful treatment for alcoholism.

In the A.A. preamble, found in A.A.literature, website and read at meetings, the sentence "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking" (NOT "the only requirement to stop drinking is membership").

Yada, yada, again. That is still just more A.A. propaganda, and proves nothing. It doesn't matter what a cult says it is. It matters what the cult really is.

However, I will indulge you: Anything can be proved to be a religion. Materialism is the religion of many and shopping malls it's alter, no doubt.

Wrong again. Again, you are trying to use the Escape via Relativism debating trick. There is simply no truth to the statement that "Anything can be proved to be a religion."

And I notice that your definition of "proof" seems to amount to nothing more than making a few false statements, and then hey presto! something is "proved".

It seems to be more of a religion for you, because I notice that you did not mention alcohol, sobriety, or quitting drinking even once. It's all about "spirituality".

One who is familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is most likely familiar with Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. 15 years ago my most basic needs for survival were being neglected because I was consumed with drinking. I joined A.A. and worked the steps. As I felt a new power flow into my life and life itself began to make sense and I realized I actually wanted to live in it, I then naturally progressed up Maslow's pyramid and continue to aspire to achieving enlightenment on many levels. I continue to grow spiritually both in and out of A.A. I go to help the new peson and in doing so I continue to help myself. There - is that what you wanted? or do you want me to once again validate that yes, A.A.can be argued to be a religion (as can many things), although my God or higher power doesn't have to be yours. Again "God" is a word and can be just about anything to anyone and it conjures up many different images and thoughts. Orange, any word can be picked apart it's interpretation up for debate. So Kumbaya.

Now you are trying the propaganda tricks called Proof by Anecdote and Wrap Yourself In A Higher Power. Your happy story about how much you enjoy your favorite cult is not evidence that A.A. makes people quit drinking, or that it has any good effects on them.

A.A. was supposed to be about sobriety, not cult religion, remember?
You quoted me the A.A. propaganda about how A.A. was supposed to be an international fellowship of people who want to quit drinking. You have forgotten all about that and gone back to your spiel about "spirituality".

Just to keep things on track: What is the A.A. success rate? Out of every 1000 newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous, how many will have 10 years of sobriety 10 years later? Please answer that question.

I think that it is horribly unspiritual to lie to sick people and tell them that A.A. works great when it doesn't. Do you think that is "spiritual"?

This is so elementary - OK here goes; It is bad to lie. And A.A. works.

Baloney. Again, show me the evidence. Show me real valid tests that show that A.A. has a success rate that is any greater than normal spontaneous remission. Please answer the above question: "Out of every 1000 newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous, how many of them will have 10 years of sobriety 10 years later?"

How many years have you been in A.A.? How many hundreds or thousands of people have you seen come to the A.A. meeting room, and get disgusted by what they see, and leave?

Agent Orange, you consistently choose to focus on one of 1,000 varying things you will hear in A.A.

Now that statement borders on delusional. Talk about stereotypical alcoholic Minimalization and Denial. I just referred you to two web pages that list about 67 things that are wrong with A.A. — The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A., and What's Not Good about A.A.. And then of the 100 items in the Cult Test, A.A. is guilty of about 85 or 90 of them. And many of them are multiples, like how the item on irrationality lists several items: the crazy teachings in the A.A. theology, and expecting miracles on demand, and claiming magical irrational answers to difficult problems, and teaching newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications. I could go on with counting the many insane things that Bill wrote and said that are listed in the file on The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A....

And you claim that I am harping on "one of 1,000 varying things". What one thing?

It's not exactly a bed of mental health — it's a bunch of drunks.

Yes, I know that. Why do you imagine that the best treatment for a bunch of mentally-ill people is to lie to them and deceive them and feed them cult religion?
Why you value what one says over another is based solely on supporting your own bias agenda, again exemplary of my entire point.

I value the statements of people who tell me the truth, and discount the yammering of delusional people and liars. Once I find that some people are lying to me, I don't believe what they say any more. That's why I don't believe what the A.A. proselytizers tell me.
Why do you have such a grudge to the point of discrediting your own work with your prejudice?

Wrong again. You didn't bother to read the introduction, did you? I started off believing that A.A. was the biggest and best self-help organization in the U.S.A.. I only gradually discovered the truth, and had to change my opinion based on the facts. I was not, and am not, "prejudiced".
I must have listened to a different member. Because what I heard was "this is what I was like, what happened, and what I'm like today".

You are engaging in cherry-picking, another standard propaganda trick. You are only listening to the stories you wish to hear, like those ridiculous sanitized show-pieces in the Big Book. What about all of the people who were hurt by the A.A. monster? Why don't you read all of the letters that come in here from those people? Start with these:
  1. Screwing with alcoholics in the U.K.
  2. Seven rehabs, seven chances to get cheated.
  3. Another AA/NA horror story: First, a sponsor seduces a guy's girl-friend, then the group seduces his 15-year-old god-son; then, years later, another A.A. group nearly destroys his marriage.
Those are the stories that you won't ever see in the Big Book, because A.A. is not about "rigorous honesty", it is about deceiving sick people.

I think that it is horribly unspiritual to deceive sick people to get them to join Alcoholics Anonymous. What do you think about that?

Ha ha! This statement is actually funny. Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone else reaching out to me in the gutter and puke. Lol. You think it's fun to get out there on the vomit line to help drunks? Thank God there was a place to go where they didn't look at me funny and just let me stay. What don't you get about "IF YOU WANT WHAT WE HAVE and are willing to go to any length to get it then you are ready to take certain steps."? Where, pray tell is the lying, manipulating and deceit?

So no other cult was out recruiting that night? So what?

You aren't rich enough for Scientology to want you. And you don't have enough money, and you aren't young enough, for the Moonies to want you either. So if you were going to go join a cult, it was pretty likely that it would be Alcoholics Anonymous.

The "lying, manipulating and deceit" is described in the files that I already told you about — The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A., and What's Not Good about A.A. and the Cult Test.

For you to even be able to ask "Where is the deceit?" indicates that you haven't actually read the web pages that you are complaining about.

And finally, you are completely glossing over the issue of Cause and Effect. You have presented no evidence that A.A. made you quit drinking, or even "helped" you to quit.

Did you quit drinking because you were recruited into A.A., or because you got sick and tired of being so sick and tired?

And I don't think it is very spiritual to promote a religion that is as bizarre and heretical as Alcoholics Anonymous. Have you read the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps? What do you think about that?

I read all that. Lighten up Orange. What is your pain? Where does it come from? The 12 steps saved my life. Promotion vs attraction — now that is something that can be debated.

You are doing it again — dodging the point. Instead of even answering one of the many points in the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps, you just flippantly say, "Lighten up."

Apparently you cannot answer the charges in that file. You know that the A.A. "spirituality" is heretical and contradicts Christianity, so you just won't talk about it.

Again, you are admitting your position is indefensible.

And you have presented no evidence that the 12 Steps "saved your life", nothing. You just like to think that your cult is good, and that its practices are good. That is just so much wishful thinking.

You want to debate "Promotion vs attraction"? Why not the A.A. success rate, and the heresy of the 12 Steps? You are running away from the big important issues, but you will be happy to waste our time on the minor points, like A.A.'s advertising campaign.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

The thought to do anything else hadn't occurred to me.


Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: PS

I have had personal experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder — It's not something you should throw around lightly. These people are shells of people — they are incapable of admitting any fault. To actually look at their part would cause a puncture to their NP that is too great to withstand. They would never see a specialist or psychologist. (FYI — the NPD I know stands at the podium of AA — it drives me crazy. I've concluded he is not at fault — he seems to have been born that way — he is genuinely wired differently — it is all he knows — it is his very nature.)

Hello again, Injoyon.

I do not throw that NPD term around lightly. In fact, I did not even use it for the first few years that I was writing about Bill Wilson. I spoke more about delusions of grandeur. I only gradually transitioned over to concluding that NPD was a very good diagnosis of Bill's behavior after reading a good many books about both Bill and NPD.

You display some interesting behavior yourself. Rather brazen of you to go so far as to diagnose someone with the same disorder as Hitler.

I never diagnosed Hitler as having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

(Oops, please don't go off on what's his face Buchman from the Oxford Group and Nazis.. yet another personality to wail on — I'm surprised you've found only a few amidst the millions)

Frank N. D. Buchman and William G. Wilson were very unusual personalities — really successful cult leaders.
Less than 1% of the male population has NPD. Everyone to some degree is Narcissistic. I guess it comes down to just what degree that a person actually has NPD.

Now that is true.
If you really read Bill's writings, he conveys constantly that he has personal struggles with his ego and his defects and human nature. I have no doubt he wanted to make money off this thing. He was a salesman, for kripes sake. A broke one at that. But to go so far as to insinuate he had no guilt or remorse"that he was incapable of love, or that he even got off on deceit and manipulation" Well, I am not sure that we can say that, can we? I'd just say (and so did he) he was emotionally immature. Read "Emotional Sobriety" in Language of the Heart. That explains a good many A.A.'s

A standard characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is that they fake remorse and guilt in order to get attention and sympathy. They aren't really repentant and humble at all. We have already gone over this before.

Although they may not show it outwardly, criticism may haunt these individuals and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow and empty. They may react with disdain, rage, or defiant counterattack. Such experiences often lead to social withdrawal or an appearance of humility that may mask and protect the grandiosity.
DSM-IV-TR == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision; Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 2000; pages 658-661.

Even when he [a Narcissistic Legend in His Own Mind] goes through periods of depression, during which he talks about what a terrible person he is, what [he] is looking for is not advice on how to do things better, but someone to reassure him of what he knows in his heart — that he's just fine the way he is.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., pages 141-142.

Bill Wilson even admitted it, by projection. He used The Preacher's We propaganda trick to declare in his second book:

We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 94.

Bill Wilson couldn't admit that he was doing such things himself, but he was willing to blame all of the other alcoholics for it.

Do you know that when Bill officially handed over the fellowship his depression lifted? Do you suppose it was an overwhelming burden he carried for reasons unknown to even him? (Like can you imagine it could be possible that even for Bill, there WAS a power bigger than him at work??)

Yes, I know that Bill officially handed over the leadership, and I also know that he didn't mean to do it. Bill wanted to appear to be noble and selfless, and he was under the misimpression that the Board of Trustees would just rubber-stamp his dictates. But they didn't.

When Bill wanted A.A.W.S. to pay his mistress Helen Wynn out of his royalty income, they concluded that it would be very unwise to mix Bill's sexual affairs with the finances of the Alcoholic Foundation, and told Bill to pay his mistresses himself. Bill was furious at their effrontery.

After the Trustees voted against Bill on another issue, Bill wrote a sarcastic self-pitying letter to the Board of Trustees, saying that he hoped that they would still see fit to allow him to have an office in the A.A. headquarters.

Nan Robertson wrote that Bill Wilson would vacation in Vermont, and then,

Bill returned home from these trips refreshed, ready to do battle again with the trustees.
Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 57.

The original group of alcoholics had sought out the best and wisest men that they could find to be the Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation, but all that Bill Wilson could do was constantly "do battle" with them and fight to get his own way about everything.

In the end, Bill Wilson simply tired of the combat and moved out to the country and spent most of his time at his home Stepping Stones. He didn't go to A.A. meetings and he had very little to do with A.A. any more, other than cashing the royalty checks. Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's private secretary, wrote that the other A.A. members were having a hard time accepting the fact that the founder of A.A. was not actually in A.A. any more.

Whoowee. None of that surprises me, although I've learned to take everything you say with more than a grain of salt... It's too bad that it has to be that way, but you render many of your points ineffective when much of your examples and proof is presented so one-sided with the purpose of promoting your own bias opinions. The story of Bill and his behavior in handing over the fellowship only validates the very principles taught in A.A.- that we need place principles before personalities" because human beings will forever fail us. But my point was that Bill's depression was lifted when the fellowship was handed over to itself — not that it happened or how it happened. Not that I don't appreciate you taking the opportunity to display the antithesis of A.A. principles and participate to the highest degree in yet more character assassination.

That is a beautiful example of the propaganda tricks of Minimalization and Denial, and Confusion of Coincidence with Causation.

Do you have any evidence that Bill Wilson's depression lifted because he quit Alcoholics Anonymous and moved to Vermont? Or was it because of something that his psychiatrist Dr. Frances Weeks did? Or was it simply time for him to come out of it, after 11 years?

And if you really wanted to keep Bill Wilson's personality from taking precedence over spiritual principles, you are about 65 years too late. The insanity and dishonesty of the entire Big Book is Bill Wilson's ego and personality.

Hopefully the traditions and concepts and other A.A. principles will prevail when forces both internally and externally threaten A.A. Human Nature (both good and bad) is prevalent all around in and out of A.A. and A.A. is no different. I hope the messengers are never more important than the message and that the structure is never revered more so than the spiritual entity it was designed to hold.

Sorry, but it's way too late. The A.A. headquarters commits perjury against A.A. members who are "carrying the message" to poor alcoholics, and gets them sentenced to prison for a year, just to protect their profits. As a moral or spiritual force, A.A. is bankrupt.

I suppose it is al very simple: A.A.will be around as long as it's service is needed. 

Actually, A.A. will be around as long as it can continue to find new victims and turn them into true believers.

You stated that, "They [NPD cases] would never see a specialist or psychologist."

It looks like you are over-generalizing from just one case, the guy you knew. What the doctors and psychiatrists say is that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are prone to suffering from terrible depression, and yes, they will seek medical aid on occasion.

Even when he [a Narcissistic Legend in His Own Mind] goes through periods of depression, during which he talks about what a terrible person he is, what [he] is looking for is not advice on how to do things better, but someone to reassure him of what he knows in his heart — that he's just fine the way he is.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., pages 141-142.

Be careful. Not everyone who is outlandishly charismatic and prone to depression has NPD.

Right, and not everybody who seeks a psychiatrist's help is free of NDP.

The psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Lowen described the behavior of a narcissistic patient named Erich:

Another aspect of narcissism that was evident in Erich's personality was his need to project an image. He presented himself as someone committed to "doing good for others," to use his words. But this image was a perversion of reality. What he called "doing good for others" represented an exercise of power over them, which, despite his stated good intentions, verged on the diabolical. Under the guise of doing good, for instance, Erich exploited his girlfriend: He got her to love him without any loving response on his part. Such exploitativeness is common to all narcissistic personalities.
Narcissism, Denial of the True Self, Alexander Lowen, M.D., page 5.

I know everything a person would care to know about NPD. It's a very heavy accusation. This class of disorder is the same as multiple personality disorder. It is very severe.

You know "everything a person would care to know about NPD"? That's a rather grandiose claim. You didn't tell me that you were a psychiatrist. When did you graduate from medical school? What states are you licensed to practice in?

I don't take the issue of NPD lightly. In fact, I didn't even diagnose Hitler as having it. Just Frank N. D. Buchman and William G. Wilson.

Bill Wilson's own psychiatrist, Dr. Tiebout, criticized Bill Wilson by saying that he had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of "His Majesty the Baby".

That sounds very close to infantile narcissism.

I'm familiar with Tiebout. Read "Emotional Sobriety" in the book Language of the Heart. The nail is hit on the head in this article. It's what Bill and many A.A.'s have trouble with. Not all ego-maniacs with inferiority complexes are NPD. Yiikes!. Half the world would be were that the case. Being emotionally stunted and NPD are very different things.

No, wrong again. You are attempting gross exaggeration. I don't diagnose half of the people in the world as NPD, just Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson. And the evidence to support that conclusion is strong. You just keep trying to dodge it.

I think you take many things out of context. Why so much effort to biasly expose detail after detail in order to back your personal opinions/motives??

No, I do not take things out of context. I am very careful not to change or distort the meaning of things that I quote. We have been over this before. Look here.

Why not remain objective — your points would be far better met then.

Actually, I try very hard to be objective, like when I insist on Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies to support claims of success in treating alcoholics.

A.A. has no monopoly on recovery. A.A. states this in more than a few places in it's literature.

And Bill Wilson also declared that A.A. WAS the only way. He talked out of both sides of his mouth. We've been over this before too.

And everybody, including A.A., Rational Recovery, SMART, and any other treatment program must meet the same strict standards of proof before they claim success. And I don't even credit SMART with anything more than a two percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission (which is 5%, so SMART gets a total success rate of maybe 7%). That is being objective.

Perhaps you meant something other than "objective". Perhaps you meant non-critical or unemotional, like that I am not supposed to feel contempt for people who calmly lie to sick people about what will cure them. If you are looking for that kind of emotional deadness, well, you won't find it here.

Contempt, huh? Agent, I don't know what happened to you, but I wish you'd tell me.

It's great you offer information and even a forum for folks who do not wish to stay or like A.A. Again, I just wish your personal opinions weren't so abundant throughout your essays. And there are so many of them. Like I said, I keep coming accross your work - when I don't want to!

Gee what a funny coincidence. I keep running across 12-Step propaganda and misinformation when I don't want to. A.A. has really poisoned the recovery well.

Here's my testimony - I thought I'd use that word for your benefit...

Me: Drunk. Setting fire to mattresses, incapeable of keeping down food, let alone keeping a job. Disowned. Formerly. Nothing worked -- the most expensive rehabs money will buy. Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Therapists, Doctors, Meds, More Doctors and more Meds. More tests, more diagnosis. Sex. Sex relations and more sex. Running out of money, running out of steam, running out of life. County funded to treatment. Running out. Running. Burning clothes, burning matteresses, burning bridges. Every turn a closed door. Every bridge burned. Hate. I hate myself. Puke. Sores. Withdrawal.

No where to go.

So the doctors didn't make you quit drinking? How could they? What were they supposed to do, insert wires into your brain and burn out the brain cells that craved your feel-goods?

Or were they supposed to get out the drills and bone saws and scalpels and do brain surgery on you?

I mean really, how could they possibly "make you" quit drinking?

What were they supposed to do, make you into an obedient little robot? And that didn't work? Well why not?

That whole A.A. speech about "nothing worked until A.A." is bogus. (By the way, you are just parrotting the standard A.A. spiel. I'm not impressed. That is just the zillionth rerun of the standard cult show routine, "The cult is the ONLY WAY.")

The truth is that nothing worked until you quit drinking. When you finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, you quit. Before then, you refused to quit. You drank because you wanted to drink. You had sex because you wanted to have sex. And you quit that behavior when you wanted to.

And I notice your mention of expensive rehabs. Since 93% of the treatment facilities in the U.S.A. use 12-Step programs, it must have been the 12 Steps that were failing you again and again, wasn't it?

How much did you pay for "28 Days of Introduction to 12-Step Religion, 101"?

One open door. One extended hand. One heart speaking to mine. Hope. Another day. Might make another day. More. Need more of that. Fill me up fill me with something. Anything. Failed relationships. Manipulation, Manipulated. Relapse. Leaving. Coming back. The hand. Still there, there is the hand. It will take more to melt the icy heart this time. Fiancée - on methadone. Dead. Gone. Four years gone. Persistance. Determination. I want what they have. I'm willing. I want it. I want the hurting to stop. 95 pounds. A shell. Void. Void of self. Void of love. Void of spirit. Barely alive. I'm an emotional retard. Fix me.

Resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Resentment eats the container it holds.

There is no spiritual condition when resentment fills a heart, let alone the capacity to MAINTAIN one. Again, I almost relapse. I'm destined to walk this earth a wrestles soul. But I learn. I am knocked off the beam easily. I learn. Others have the power. I react. I learn. I fall short of my chosen ideals. But I learn.

Fears. Reacting to fears. Most are self-centered. Most are false. Most are irrational. Most are made-up stories. Laughter. "If you're going to make up a story, might as well make up a good one" ha ha ha. They help me walk through my fear. I start becoming human, interacting, laughing. I start laughing.

He was hiding In the last place I'd ever think to look, when I had looked everywhere else, I found a power deep down within me. All along it was in "the book" but it was still the last place I looked. There's that sense of humor again. "Deep down every man woman and child lies the fundamental idea of God and it is there we must look". That is where I looked. That is where I found.

Today: Sober. Tax paying, law abiding. Citizen. A part of. No longer a part from. Participating. Enjoying. INJOYON. Laughter. Love, Care, throughtfulness, consideration, integrity, self worth. SELF. Ideals -- striving for ideals. MY ideals. No one elses. MINE. Actually living and being someone I like. I can grow in whatever image I choose (I choose my conception of God that I won't go into right now) in and out of A.A. I don't need A.A. to do this. I've learned this the hard way.

Okay, so it's good that you quit drinking. See how much better your life is when you are not killing yourself with alcohol?

Next you should try life without a cult religion. Break that addiction too. You just have no idea of how good it can get.

And here is the best testimony of all: A.A. showed me how to live up to my own ideals -- no one elses -- my own for me. When I fall short, I learn. I make amends and I learn.

But the greatest freedom of all Is that you can slander A.A. and twist and turn everything to feed your vindictiveness when I believe I'd be 6 feet under with my first fiancée without A.A. yes I can still be free to continue to strive for my own ideals.

In other words, regardless of how others are behaving or how I perceive I am being treated". They do not dictate who I am or how I behave today. I can still be open minded to learn and read and try to see another's perspective. Something happened to you - and I wish we could just talk about that instead of all this other stuff.

You are quick to accuse me of slandering A.A., but you are woefully short on facts.

And you keep running away when I mention the big important issues, like the A.A. success or failure rate, and the A.A. death rate, and the heresy of the A.A. theology. Would you care to talk about those things? Oh, and by the way, how many suicides have you had in your groups during your years in A.A.?

I really wish those wonderful spiritual ideals that A.A. taught you included rigorous honesty and telling the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you won't tell the truth about those issues, then you have no room to accuse me of slandering Alcoholics Anonymous.

Have a good day anyway.

Orange -- YOU have a great day and a happy thanksgiving (if you're in to that holiday)

Oh yeh. If I had eaten any more, I would have been sick.

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


[4th letter from Injoyon:]

Date: November 28, 2005
Subject: Re: question for you

Dear Orange,

I was wondering... if you despise A.A. then you must feel the same way about the other 12-step programs?

Yep. Although some I despise even more, like when I see how Al-Anon and Alateen hurt children. Read the file about Snake Oil for the lowdown on the other 12-Step "programs".

And I just want to point out -- you hate the practice of teaching powerlessness... however, when you get further into the program (after sticking it out for a while) you realize what they are talking about is the ineffective use of self-will... of which, any addict (sex addict, drug addict, alcohol addict) has to admit, their way was not exactly working for them... as much as they applied their own will, their own "instincts" lead them quite astray. The steps merely remove that which is blocking one from reaching that power that will prove to be a bit less SELF(destructive) DIRECTED... I'm sure you will argue that's brainwashing. Whatever, when I got sober I was afraid people could read my mind -- that's how junked up mine was -- it needed a good cleaning out.

Well again, that is a bunch of crippling and harmful B.S. -- "the ineffective use of self-will".

So the answer is to surrender your will and become the slave of Somebody Else?

Yes, that is the cult answer.

And you are assuming all kinds of erroneous things, like "their way was not exactly working for them... as much as they applied their own will, their own "instincts" lead them quite astray."

That is just flat-out wrong. The truth is that addicts are conflicted and of two minds. They want to quit their addiction and get healthy, and they also want another hit or another drink right now, to feel better right now. Both of those things are "their will" and "their way".

The Steps do not remove "that which is blocking one from reaching that power..."
What the Steps remove is clear thinking, self-reliance, and self-respect. Dr. Frank Buchman designed those practices to brainwash new members of his religious cult, and that is what they do. (So you were right about me arguing that it is brainwashing. Now what will it take for you to realize that it *really is* brainwashing?)

Yes, you say that "Whatever, when I got sober I was afraid people could read my mind -- that's how junked up mine was -- it needed a good cleaning out."

So you had some problems with mild paranoia when you detoxed. That does not mean that you needed to get brainwashed.

Notice the similarity of that with other obnoxious cults:

What the cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Moonies said was "Americans' minds are so dirty, so full of sex and drugs and sin, that their brains need a good washing."

The leader of the Synanon pseudo-recovery cult, Chuck Dederich, said, "Of course, we brainwash in Synanon. The dirty brains we get all the time need to be washed for Chrissake!"

Oh yes, the cults are eager to wash your brain out for you.

Or you just hate that it leads people to develop and rely upon something that can't fail them (like people...)

Again, you assume things that are totally out of touch with reality. A.A. does not work at all. It has the same success rate as doing nothing, but has a much higher death rate, and a higher rearrest rate, and a higher binge drinking rate. It is a disaster, not a wonderful solution to a bad problem.

I can't figure if you don't believe in God at all, or you are a fundamentalist.

Good. I will let you keep wondering. As long as you can't pigeon-hole me, you might have to think about what I am saying.

I cannot put that much time into reading all your stuff, but I wondered if you feel the same way about all the other 12-step programs or is it just Bill Wilson's A.A.?

It is all of them. We covered that above.

regards,
injoyon

Yeh, you have a good day too.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.





Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: AA

Hi Orange,

I stumbled upon your website well over a year ago and am glad your back and posting letters again.

I attended my first meeting Oct. 22, 1983 and have not had a drink since the day before my first meeting. I know exactly why I have remained sober ever since. It is not because of the steps, sponsors, sponsoring, helping others, prayers or attending meetings. I immediately bought into the AA philosophy and became obsessed from the very start.

It was my overwhelming obsession with AA that kept me sober. I wanted to stay sober so that I could become Mr. AA, guru, BB quoter, meeting chairman, wonderful sponsor and just an all around really great guy! As the years went on I began to question some of the smaller points in AA.

  • If AA works so well, why has the group remained the same size for the past ten years?

  • If we are powerless, how can we just not drink today?

  • If the steps really work, why have many gone on to drink and drug after working the steps?

  • If AA is such a spiritual program, why do so many AAers commit so many immoral acts while sober?

  • Why are the best speakers in meetings held in such high regard, when their only asset is speaking? (One fellow talks at every meeting very eloquently and never says anything of substance.)

  • One of the greatest lines used in AA to dismiss another's point of view is "That's just your selfishness talking"

I could go on & on with this but I've said enough. When I discovered this site I was very curious and upset with your attack of AA. It wasn't your writing that helped to clear my head, it was the replies that attempted to defend AA. I read every response to you hoping that some of the wiser AAers would step up to defend the flag.

All that I saw were vain attempts by use of the AA rhetoric. In the end it was the AAers that showed me the truth of AA. I have weaned myself from the obsession of AA since discovering this site. I no longer have a need to battle to be right or be a needy person. I still converse with my sponsor because he is my friend, and I allow him his views. In a couple of weeks it will be 22 years of sobriety for me and I have never been so free.

Thanks Orange for the lively discussion you have brought forth.

Bill F.
OFallon IL

Hello Bill,

Thanks for the letter. I am blown away. I don't know what to say other than "thank you".

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Bill Wilson wrote that you cannot quit drinking by using
** your own intelligence and will power; that you must have
** a "Higher Power" doing the quitting for you.
** When I asked God about that, He said, "Screw Bill Wilson.
** I'm not gonna quit drinking."





Date: Fri, October 14, 2005
Subject: sounds like a resentment

dear orange,I resent bill wilson the cause: for being liar. affects my: self esteem (fear), personal relations,security,pocketbook. where had i been selfish? i didn't want him to be a liar. dishonest: i have never been a liar. self seeking: i slandered him to the world on the internet. fear: of being a liar. putting out of our minds what others have done.we resolutely look at our own mistakes.the very thing people criticize bill for is exactly what and who they are. in other words if bill did what people say he did he had to live with it.even if we are wronged by someone we are still wrong by self seeking(criticizing him and judging him). i hope people understand the value of looking at our part in all of our affairs. thank you and god bless chip b. livonia, mi.

Hi Chip,

Thanks for the letter.

I'm having trouble ferretting out the actual message in there, but I see this in particular:
"the very thing people criticize bill for is exactly what and who they are."

That is obviously nonsense. If you criticize someone for committing murder, does that mean that you are guilty of murdering someone? Of course not. If you criticize Bill Wilson for being a philandering thieving phony guru, does that make you one? No, it doesn't.

Then you parrot one of Bill Wilson's worst lines:
"even if we are wronged by someone we are still wrong by self seeking(criticizing him and judging him)."

Again, that is patently untrue nonsense. It is not a spiritual failing to criticize evil. In fact, it is a spiritual wrong to not criticize and oppose evil.

Those statements reveal just how much A.A. has crippled you and made you unable to function in the real world. You can't even fight against wrongs because you are too busy turning the attack on yourself. That's great for keeping you a subservient slave in a cult, but not good for much else.

Your subject line mentions resentments. Oh, is that a popular subject this weekend. I just wrote about that subject a few letters ago, so look here for the answer.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





Date: Fri, October 14, 2005 1:03 pm

Hi.

I must say that I find it strange that you can have so much bad things to say about something you really don?t understand.

Do your home work better, then come back and talk.

Good for you that you are sober for five years.

Emil J.

Hi Emil,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for once again demonstrating the standard propaganda technique called Ad Hominem — just claim that your opponent doesn't know what he is talking about (and of course ignore what he actually says).

The truth is that I have done my homework (see the bibliography here), and I do understand what A.A. really is.

Come back and talk any time, and have a good day.
Oh, and thanks for the congratulations on five years of sobriety.

== Orange


[2nd letter from Emil:]

Date: Sun, October 30, 2005
Subject: SV:

Hi again :-)

But you are using standard propaganda techniques all the time... Why is that?

Have a nice life!

Hi again, Emil,

The simple answer is that it is impossible to carry on a debate without using debating techniques. Like I said at the start of the web page on propaganda and debating techniques,

Any time you are trying to convince anyone of something, you are using some kind of persuasion, debating, or propaganda technique. Just telling the whole truth about something is one simple propaganda technique, and a highly effective one. But lying often works better, at least with some audiences...

The big question is, is someone using honest persuasion techniques, like telling the truth, listing true facts, and using reason and valid logic, or is someone lying and deceiving and using all of the dishonest, under-handed propaganda techniques?

I try to make sure that I only use the good techniques as I argue my case. It's tempting to stoop to easy, low attacks, but I try to avoid the temptation.

Have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Sat, October 15, 2005
Subject: Hello there A O....

Hi,

Rev Sam shoemaker once said, "you can argue the interpretation of an experience.... However, you must acknowledge the experience within itself." Therefore if we must acknowledge someone's experience then why would we want to challenge it in any way??? I found that when I looked deep into myself the answer was very fulfilling once I could accept it....... Even though it was tough and meant I had to give up lots of my "old ideas" about life and my life's preconceived ideas which were based on the past I had experienced...... Maybe you could let me know what you personally think eh.....

Patrick.........

PS.....I know "why" Yahoo did what they did.....Do you???

Hi Patrick,

About Shoemaker's "acknowledging the experience..."
All I can say is, "What a bunch on nonsensical double-talk." It is meaningless garbage.

So someone has an experience? So what? An experience can be anything from making love to taking out the garbage. The fact that someone has an experience does not necessarily mean that the experience is good or valuable or educational or spiritual or anything else.

Sam was erroneously assuming that somehow all claims of "religious experiences" were valid or genuine or somehow valuable. That is a false assumption.

What about the person who mistakes mawkish sentimentality for a religious experience?

What about the person who confuses wishful thinking with having a religious experience?

What about the person who insists that getting all choked up while singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" is a real religious experience?

What about the military enthusiast who says that marching in formation with a big army gives him a religious experience?

And the most extreme question is, "What about the people who felt that listening to Adolf Hitler giving a rousing speech was a religious experience?"

We not only can challenge someone's experience, we have to, when they are making extraordinary claims, like that they are getting a "genuine religious experience" from something or other.


And no, I don't know exactly why Yahoo erased my web site. Do you know something about it that I don't know?

Have a good day.

== Orange


[2nd letter from Patrick:]

Date: Sat, November 12, 2005
Subject: Re: Hello there A O....

Yep, as I thought.....Your ego couldn't take it so you pointed me to a rationalisation as usual eh....Therefore, you need to find other likeminded people to co sign your own defects and shorcomings to try to dismiss the messengers and thus dismiss the message eh...That's why AA won't work for you because you consciously need to play God in your life to feed your BIG ego....Your covers blown and the ego can't take it......Your trying to unscramble eggs here and PLEASE, let me know how that works for you ok......Try using your obsessive actions to your advantage instead of trying to justify why AA won't work coz you haven't personally had enough of your own suffering yet....Oh, do you know what SELF-delusion means??? of course you do don't you...Therefore it's not self delusion for you it's belligerant denial ( consciously lying to yourself. ) There was just one beautiful spot though about your web site........Thanks for the good pictures of everyone, I can use them for my AA activities,lol......

Paatrick.....

Paatrick,

You are losing it.

Get a grip.

And have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
** try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
** enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
** (The Big Book, page 96.)


[and yet another letter from Paatrick:]

From: "paatrickos"
Subject: Thank you Orange....
Date: Fri, January 6, 2006 9:05

Hi, I'd just like to write and say thank you very much for reminding me how sceptical, cynical, agnostic, disbelieving and judgemental I used to be...Reading your articles brought it home to me how emotionally sick I was only 2 years ago and I'd have bought into the idea of this website and drowned again in my illness....Once again, thank you very much for reminding me where I came from in my illness....It's people like you I need to understand then I can get a sense of ease and comfort with the world and all it's people without feeling the need for a drink again....Keep up the good work and I don't know if you know it but you're 12 stepping people into recovery, effectively...

Paatrick.....

Hi again, Paatrick,

Thanks for the neat demonstration of the propaganda techniques of:

Once again, you have avoided dealing with a single unpleasant subject, and have dodged all of the points about Alcoholics Anonymous and "religious experiences".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
** He isn't really trying to get Dorothy killed by
** the Wicked Witch of the West. RARELY HAVE we
** seen him fail....





Date: Wed, October 19, 2005

I was turned onto your site by a guy I know from AA. Its really remarkable and great that someone writes the truth about AA.

Hi John,

Thanks for the thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange





Date: Wed, October 19, 2005
Subject: Re: A.A.

Hello again Terrance. Greetings from Scotland. The first thing I want to do is thank you very much for your reply to my letter. Now, why did it take me 13 months to reply — because I have just read it today!! How come? — because I have had no idea what an "attached web page" or an "attachment" was!!!!!! Shame. I am a retired engineer who used and programmed computers for 30 years as dedicated design, control and diagnostic tools. I never had the slightest interest in the net or emails. Last year I was gifted an old PC and I have dabbled about with "Google" and "Outlook Express". I never knew what a paper clip in the top right corner was until this morning. Most of the emails I have received in the past 20 months seem to have automatically shown the attachments on screen but I have had a few surprises opening the remaining paper clips. So, what a plonker, eh?

Your reply shows that you and I are on EXACTLY the same wavelength.....say no more.

I cannot stress enough just how reading your essays last year has utterly transformed my psyche. Talk about a paradigm shift, from AA guru to to sane, healthy, well-adjusted normality — and that's my wife's, sons', and best friend's opinion. You now have seven "acolytes" here in Glasgow! We still attend AA meetings and do our best to (tactfully) spike zealot's guns and keep fragile newcomers away from "bum steers" (dangerous misleading advice). Having broken free from the cult stranglehold, we have asked ourselves why we are attending meetings and we have to admire the AA Preamble as a "mission statement". The Preamble is simple, solid and above criticism and if that was all AA was about, (and not about), it would be an admirable fellowship playing its part in early recovery assistance, especially "you are no longer alone". Have you any thoughts on the Preamble? ... other than the obvious bait in "bait and switch".

I have not "logged on" to your site for about a year because my son downloaded the lot on to a CD and I just use that. I have now just had a quick look at it and I see a complete update so that will be my reading for the next few hours. I have printed out most of your website during the last year and it is one hell of a mountain of A4! .... the book is long overdue.

Take care and very best regards, Gordon.

Hi Gordon,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments. It's very flattering, a little overwhelming really, to hear that I have "acolytes" in Glasgow. (Now I really can't relapse, I'll disappoint all of my followers... :-)

By the way, I am descended from the Glasgow crowd, about 3 generations ago (among other things). MacGillivary clan from Glasgow. (Oh, and also Ireland. That Terrance name isn't a joke.)

Sorry to hear that you were confused by the attachment. (It is funny in a way.) I almost always answer letters with a web page because the web page format is convenient and makes links possible. I send the same web page to the correspondent, and also put the contents of the web page into another file of letters. That saves me the bother of having to write things twice, in two different formats. And the HTML format is the only thing that makes links work correctly. I often don't feel like retyping stuff again, so I just point a link at where I already said the same thing before. It's also very convenient, how easy it is, in HTML, to have the text of the original letter and response in two different colors to make the reading easier.


About the Preamble. I am not 100% sure what you mean, but I think you must mean the opening statements that are read out loud at the start of every A.A. meeting, beginning with "RARELY have we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path..." That is, the plastic-laminated dogma from pages 58 to 60 of the Big Book.

As a statement of purpose, of ideals, it is wonderful. It sounds great. Just some recovering alcoholics getting together to give aid and comfort to each other and seeking to rescue others from Hell. And to the extent that A.A. lives those ideals, that's the best part of A.A..

Alas, I always have to grit my (non-existent) teeth at the "RARELY have we seen a person fail" line because I know what the truth is. And that is what sours the whole experience for me. When you have to start every meeting by reciting things that you flat-out know are not true, it makes a mockery of all of the talk about "rigorous honesty".

And then I object to Bill Wilson's blame-the-victim attitude in declaring that those people for whom The Program doesn't work are just genetically defective, "born that way".

Then of course there is the assumption that the Twelve Steps actually work to cure or treat alcoholism, which they don't, really.

But if A.A. were what it claims to be, just a friendly little neighborhood sobriety club, then it could be a wonderful thing. That is why I look hopefully at things like SMART, SOS, and LifeRing, which might grow into very good things.

I mean, I will basically be interested in any sobriety self-help organization or treatment program that doesn't ask me to recite a pack of lies to the newcomers.


This line that you wrote is really great:
"We still attend AA meetings and do our best to (tactfully) spike zealot's guns and keep fragile newcomers away from "bum steers" (dangerous misleading advice)."

YES!!! In the past, I have made jokes about the "Newcomer Rescue League" — a mythical secret organization of sane people who go to A.A. meetings to save the newcomers from the bad sponsors. It was just a joke, but there really should be such an organization. It sounds like it really exists after all. Thank you.

Thanks again for the letter, and have a good day.

== Orange

*                Agent Orange                 *
*           orange@orange-papers.org          *
*       AA and Recovery Cult Debunking        *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/         *
* Heisenberg said, "I'm not really sure if    *
* that even was Shrödinger's cat.   I think        *
* he might have used somebody else's cat..."  *


[2nd letter from Gordon:]

Date: Fri, November 11, 2005
From: "Rona & Gordon"
Subject: Re: A.A.

Hello again Terrance. Greetings from Scotland. Thank you for your reply and I completely agree with your sentiments. Yes, you were not 100% sure about what I meant by the Preamble. What you were confusing and rightly condemning was "How it works", an excerpt from Chapter 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous. In my visits to North America this seemed to be mandatory reading, but it is seldom read out at Scottish meetings (only of the "holy roller" variety). Our mandatory laminated sheet at all meetings is the Preamble which goes as follows:-

"Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety".

(Above copyright 1947 by the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.; reprinted here with f*** all permission).

This reading is an ABSOLUTE ritual here and it is what I was referring to as "simple, solid and above criticism". By the way, the word "Preamble" is not in our vocabulary and we have to explain to all newcomers that it is Americanese for "Introduction". Some meetings here have a further reading but it is an innocuous quote such as "Just for Today", "The Promises", "The Four Horsemen", etc. Most of our real old-timers take the Preamble as their Mission Statement and dislike the "airy fairy" 12 steps; they are dying out and the cult is taking over but we can try and stick to first principles. I was at a meeting last night where the "top table" sharer said that she was,"18 months dry in AA and then had a glass of white wine in a restaurant, now I am nearly a year sober". I commented that surely she was two and a half years sober and she said that her sponsor told her she had "thrown away" the 18 months and they didn't count for anything! What utter desperate drivel! The horror of brainwashing is that I used to say and believe that kind of guilt-inducing nonsense. (I had a long talk with her at the tea break and put her right, mayby another convert!)

So I hope that clarifies why we are still attending meetings,

Best Regards and take care.
Gordon.

p.s. I like your foot-note about Shrödinger's cat!.... very good. Reminds me of:-
An American politician, statistician and particle physicist came on a hiking holiday in Scotland. They came over a rise and there was a black sheep on the trail.
Politician: "Look!... the sheep in Scotland are black!
Statistician: "Well.... at least one sheep in Scotland is black.
Particle physicist: Well...... on one side anyway......

Hi again Gordon,

Thanks for the clarification, and have a good day.





More Letters


Previous Letters





Search the Orange Papers







Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 30 June 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters26.html

Copyright © 2014, A. Orange