Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXVI
by A. Orange

Date: Sat, February 26, 2011 4:06 pm     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "jack b."
Subject: Thank you

Hey there!

Thanks for making me feel better about what I instinctively believed.

My now ex-girlfriend was involved with AA and I tried to be supportive of it until her sponsor forbid her from seeing me for thirty days, because despite the fact that I myself having never drank more than very occasionally I was somehow supposedly a bad influence.

During those 30 days I sent an email to my then girlfriend questioning the validity of her sponsor and AA in general and at the end of the 30 days I was told by my now ex that I could never talk to her again and when trying to recover a few items of personal significance was barraged by her AA girlfriend who yelled and screamed at me as if I was a stalker.

The last words I heard from my girlfriend before this AA induced silence was that she loved me.

I really feel like I have lost her to a sick cult group.

After reading your blog I feel more certain that I am correct in that assumption.

Just wanted to share that with you,

Thanks again,

Jack B.

Hello Jack,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

Unfortunately, I've heard that story before. I have a list of A.A. horror stories, here, and several of them described how A.A. broke up their relationships and separated the new victim from all previous friends and relatives.

Sorry that it sounds kind of shallow, but I really do wish you a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The reality inside a cult is often just the opposite of the
**    grand ideals that they advertise in public.

Date: Tue, March 1, 2011 10:09 am     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "dennis f."

pretty sure you are out of your mind or using medication in an unauthorized way. My donation is to recommend you work on your resentments.

Hello Dennis,

People who tell the truth are out of their minds? Interesting attitude.

By the way, there wasn't any donation. But that's okay, because I plan to keep my resentments against quacks who foist fake cures on sick people.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob never got their thinking
**     out of the Middle Ages, and they seemed to resent
**     anybody else who had.

Date: Sun, February 27, 2011 6:48 am     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "Mark M."
Subject: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Good morning;

I spent some time reading the information provided on your web page at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html.

Wow, man. What drugs did you abuse to get like that?

Hello Mark,

If you think that something in that file is wrong, please tell us precisely what it is. Please quote the lines that you think are wrong, and then explain what you think the truth is. Of course, please tell us where you got your information so that we can go read it too.

For instance, if you think that A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant was wrong when he said that the A.A. death rate was appalling, please tell us how you know more about alcohol abuse and it's treatment than Dr. Vaillant. What did Dr. Vaillant do wrong? Please reveal how successful your favorite tests of A.A. were. And where did they publish the results?

Thank you.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A recent review by the Cochrane Library, a health-care research
**     group, of studies on alcohol treatment conducted between 1966
**     and 2005 states its results plainly: "No experimental
**     studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or
**     TSF [12-step facilitation] approaches for reducing alcohol
**     dependence or problems."
**     http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080602660.html

Date: Sun, February 27, 2011 12:12 pm     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "Taylor W."
Subject: Your best thinking got you here


I can't remember if I shared this with you or not. But I had a thought a while ago, after quitting AA, about that slogan of theirs in the subject. Well, odds are by the time I heard those words, I'd already spent 45 minutes hearing about how incredible 12 step programs are. So, wouldn't that mean that my best thinking was absolutely brilliant if it got me into "the rooms"? Like the guy in the Big Book who feels sorry for non-alcoholics because they will never know the joy of the fellowship. So if it's such a wonderful faith-healing club, why are they sarcastically suggesting that my thinking must be messed up if I ended up at their meetings?

Hi Taylor,

Thanks for the letter. I agree. When I said to myself, "I really need to quit drinking. I'll try treatment or A.A. or anything that might teach me something that will help," that was some of my best thinking, not my worst. Some of the all-time best in my life.

The condescending put-down, "Your best thinking got you here," is just a standard cult technique for making new victims doubt their own thinking, and distrust their own minds. That's handy for brainwashing the newcomers.

I also feel like "Well why don't you go do some more research" is actually good advice for somebody questioning whether or not they're an alcoholic, or wondering if they drink in moderation. It always comes across as very snide, as though they don't want the person to actually gain any knowledge but either kowtow to them right then, or "go out" and drink themselves into oblivion. As I mentioned in a prior e-mail, personally, I'd rather not conduct that research. Once people knew I was going to AA (and I made no greater attempt to hide that than I had my drinking or drug use, I was never ashamed of that stuff, for whatever reason) I noticed lots of people around me trying to feel me out for whether or not I thought they were an alcoholic. Unless somebody is consuming large amounts of alcohol on a daily basis, I don't feel qualified to even begin to answer that question. Sometimes when this happens I feel more free to suggest that somebody isn't an alcoholic though. For example, not long after I got sober, there was a strange bit of synchronicity in my life. And old friend of mine, who was a heroin addict, showed up on my doorstep after we hadn't seen each other in almost four years. This gal was easily the most promised and most intelligent of the lot I hung out with during that time in my life. She was a stereotypical case of an otherwise sensible person who found herself making some very bad decisions. She'd been clean almost exactly as long as I had, she'd stopped about a month after I had, and severed ties with her and everyone else. Probably the third time I had her over, she'd just come from the bar. She did not smell of alcohol, nor was she impaired in any way. When she started angling for an answer about whether or not she was an alcoholic, I pointed out that she'd just come from a bar and wasn't noticeably intoxicated, something I'd never done. I've done that since though, because it turns out that I can have lunch in a bar, and not instantly relapse. I wouldn't want to hang around in a bar, mind you, but stopping in for a bite to eat has proven safe thus far.

I think that the A.A. habit of labeling people as "alcoholics" or "non-alcoholics" just creates more problems. I honestly don't know if I'm supposed to be labeled an alcoholic at this point. After 10 years of not drinking, am I an alcoholic or an ex-alcoholic? It all depends on what you think the word means. The problem is that A.A. has multiple definitions of "alcoholic" and switches them around, which confuses the issue and muddies the water. (See the definitions here.) If an alcoholic is somebody who drinks too much, then I stopped being an alcoholic 10 years ago. If an alcoholic is somebody who is hyper-sensitive to alcohol, and really should not drink at all because it just starts him back down that slippery slope again, then I will always be an alcoholic. If an alcoholic is somebody who is powerless over alcohol, then I was never an alcoholic.

Rather than tell people whether they are alcoholics, I prefer to just rephrase the question as, "Are you drinking so much that it is causing you pain and suffering? If so, then cut down or quit. If you can't drink moderately, then quit totally. (Like I did.)" That way, we don't even have to worry about the meaning of the word "alcoholic". Just worry about whether alcohol is hurting you.

I'm starting to get rather keen on the idea of being done with cigarettes as well as alcohol. My history with tobacco looks like a lot of AAers interaction with alcohol. I can stay away for six months here, six months there, and then end up letting myself down. I got over the idea of trying to do two things at once being too much (which I think was valid, for me personally) and my newest thing has been that I don't have enough good reasons to quit. But in the past few days, I've started to think the idea that I don't have the right motivation to quit might be coming from my Lizard Brain. You know, I didn't really want to stop drinking alcohol when I did either, then stuff was so cool on the other side of the veil I just decided I'd stay on this side. My successful, if short, stints at quitting smoking have been done in almost the exact way you mentioned it happening for you (except I didn't stay quit). I'd go on the step 1 (21mg) patches for a couple weeks, and then call it good. I think I may have to do some field testing, and see if I quit smoking, and see if the grass is greener over there, like it was when I stopped drinking. The other thing I'm considering is really trying to focus on things I enjoy about not smoking, assuming that those things exist (and I'm pretty sure they do). It worked with alcohol. I enjoy not having to piece together the night before. I enjoy knowing exactly how I got to bed last night. Simple things, most of them, but no less enjoyable for their simplicity. I figure, if I try to quit smoking, the worst case scenario is I fail at it. I'm not even out any money, since the patches are cheaper than what it'd cost me to smoke for that time. Best case scenario, I quit and stay quit. As I write this, suddenly I'm having even more of a hard time seeing a downside, and am further convinced that my fear of being a "wants to want to" is just my Lizard Brain making excuses to keep me puffing.

All I can do is encourage you, and say that being unaddicted is wonderful. It's like day and night. My life isn't just better, it's a whole different life.

When you say, "I can stay away for six months here, six months there, and then end up letting myself down," I really get the feeling that the little old Lizard Brain Addiction Monster is at work there. After six months, you aren't going through withdrawal. So something else is going on, like Lizard Brain jabbering, "Oh, we are so stressed out. We just need to relax a little bit. Just for a minute." Or, "We have it under control now. We can have just one and it will be okay."

Old Lizard Brain is saying something that is convincing you — for a minute — that smoking a cigarette will be okay. That's all it takes.

Oh, and don't be down on yourself. Thinking that you let yourself down is counter-productive, and just makes you feel depressed and gives you another excuse to smoke. Rather than thinking that you let yourself down, just look at your thoughts and figure out what you believed as you lit up. What were you thinking as you lit that first cigarette? Then you can see how Lizard Brain fooled you. Then you can play the Who song about, "Ain't Gonna Get Fooled Again".

One other thing: the ability to drink moderately, and the ability to smoke moderately, are independent skills. You may be able to do one, but not the other. Or neither. It all depends on the individual person. Me, I can do neither. (At least, I never managed to so far.) But totally abstaining isn't so hard.

You know Mark Twain's line about, "My doctor tells me that I must be more moderate in my smoking. I can either completely abstain from smoking, or I can smoke like a chimney, but there is no way that I can be more moderate in my smoking."

I hope this doesn't sound insane, but I see you, and the people who write to you as an extended part of my support system. I'm fortunate enough to have a loving family, a loyal girlfriend, close platonic friends of both sexes etc. But, it's really nice to stop by the Papers, read a letter that sounds familiar, read a letter that's hilariously/frighteningly delusional. You know, in a way it provides what AA claims to, in that there is support (not real time, but when I read a letter from somebody I can relate to, it bolsters my resolve to keep my act together) and holy crap, plenty of levity to go around! Some of your responses to letters make me laugh out loud. It's because you almost invariably treat people in a reasonable and respectful way. The point gets across so much better that way. I have a hunch that if I were in your shoes, I would get awfully sarcastic and perhaps hurt my own cause.

Thanks, and it doesn't sound insane. And yes, sometimes I have to bite my tongue because it sure is tempting to let some fool have it with both barrels. But it works better if I don't.

Thanks for being you Orange, and further, I'd like to thank the people who've taken the time to share their experiences on your website via e-mails as well.


Yes, and I'd like to thank them too. They are what make things interesting. If it was just me talking, it would get old. (And I'd run out of things to say.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "If you're going to tell people the truth, you better
**       make them laugh; otherwise they'll kill you."
**         ==  George Bernard Shaw
**    "People always come up to me and say that my smoking
**        is bothering them... Well, it's killing me!"
**           ==   Wendy Liebman

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

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family of 9

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Sun, February 27, 2011 4:09 pm     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: The Anger Thing


I am getting a chuckle from Tom B. (letters 225). A guy with all those letters after his name writes to say "You are angry."

How profound! What insight! What total garbage. The last thing I get from your site and from your responses to letters is anger on your part. Perhaps Tom B. is projecting. Anger is a normal, natural and HEALTHY human emotion. We all have a right to be angry and we have a right to matter of factually admit we are angry and express anger at will and with utter impunity. I would scoff at any authority who wanted me to go to anger management. The whole attempt to demonize anger is merely another tool of social control. I am sure that Mubarak would love to have controlled the anger of the Egyptian people last month or that Governor Walker would like to send justifiably angry union members off to anger management class.

Keep up the great work.


p.s. By the way Tom B. here is something that might make you angry. I just under-minded a planned intervention by forewarning a person that an intervention was being planned. This is the second time I have done this and you, sir, are powerless to do anything about it. The person is now working with his doctor to use opiate antagonists to end his addiction to alcohol. Abstinence IS sobriety.

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the laugh. And thanks for sabotaging interventions.

Yes, the ban on anger is just another part of the mind-control program. Don't trust your own mind. Don't feel your own feelings. Don't have a resentment at people screwing you over.

What I found amazing is that the fellow could have all of those letters after his name, so he was supposedly educated, and yet he was still so brainwashed that he imagined that accusing me of being angry answered everything that I had to say about the ineffectiveness of 12-Step treatment for alcohol abuse.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    True religion extends alike to the intellect and the heart.
**    Intellect is in vain if it lead not to emotion, and emotion
**    is vain if not enlightened by intellect; and both are vain
**    if not guided by truth and leading to duty.
**      ==  Tryon Edwards

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 6:13 am     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "Mike G."
Subject: Thank you

Currently I am an active member of AA with just over nine years of non-drinking, or other mind altering substances, sobriety. I've worked all twelve steps twice for myself and have worked them with several others considered by those familiar with 12-step programs as sponsees.

From the start I became interested in finding out more about how "they" did it, so I've read a lot on the history of AA both in print and on the internet. It was while doing some research about three years ago I first came upon your site. I'm sure you can imagine my first reaction; it was that of contempt, but like the quote on your homepage, investigation lead to further findings. Your site contains some details of things I had read about previously, but lacked the specifics your site has to offer: Ergo my thanks.

My contempt soon vanished, and over the past few years it has now changed to pity. It has become quite apparent to me that you too have (at least) ONE GREAT OBSESSION; finding fault. But I guess that's what most investigators are looking for isn't it? (I wonder why??)

Sure I can say AA doesn't work. Anyone with any knowledge of statistics will agree. There's no doubt Bill Wilson, Frank Buckman and slew of others you've written about were riddled with faults of some kind; I know I am. A great teacher once said, "He that is without sin amongst you, let him cast the first stone." Pointing a finger at others seems to be your forte, hopefully you can find some time to look at the unidentified individual who claims authorship of your papers; perhaps you already have.


Mike G.

Hello Mike,

No, I don't have a great obsession with finding fault. Personally, I would love to be able to goof off and do nothing but play with my little goslings. In fact, I have. Some years ago, I took a whole year off and just went and laid on the beach and fed the goslings and worked on my sun tan.

But there is just this problem with some quack healers hurting sick people, and somebody has to speak up and tell what they know. I kind of got stuck with the job, not entirely by my own choice. (That story is in the introduction.)

Since you recognize that A.A. does not work, why are you still in it? Can't you see what Buchmanism does to people? Why aren't you telling sick, desperate, people the truth? Why aren't you steering them towards SMART or SOS or Lifering or WFS or Rational Recovery or anything that will help them more and harm them less?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The alleged power to charm down insanity, or ferocity
**     in beasts, is a power behind the eye.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Poet and Essayist

[The next letter from Mike_G is here.]

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 6:38 am     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: "kim t."
Subject: Dry Drunk article

Hello, My name is Kim T. I read your article online about "The Dry Drunk." I liked it very much. I would like to talk with you about it, and I have some questions I hope you could answer for me. One of which is, do you know where to get help that doesn't involve 12 step programs, for people all ready recovering from drinking and drugs, who were [in] abusive homes?

Thank you so much for your time,

Hello Kim,

Thanks for the letter, and you came to the right place. I was also an abused child, the son of an alcoholic military sergeant father who was a real monster. And I had my own demons to conquer.

For non-cult recovery, I have a bunch of ideas and suggestions. I just listed and discussed what has helped people here: How did you get to where you are?

Then, you can talk to me some more personally, if you choose.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Healing is a matter of time, but it is
**     sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
**       ==  Hippocrates (460—377 B.C.)

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 11:39 am     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: "Jack A."
Subject: Charlie Sheen ROCKS !!!

Orange, you should hear Charlie Sheen's interview on the Alex Jones show, he came right out and called AA a "bootleg cult" and lot's more, Mocking some of their stupid slogans and saying regarding them "newsflash-I am special...and I will never be one of you." I hope he stays free of addictions from now on now that he has exposed 12stepism for what it is, that smug creep and 12step shill Drew Pinsky has even insinuated that Sheen is mentally unstable for telling His AA nazi boss and others to bugger off... Shades of Soviet Russia!

I want to commend you also for such a great expose' of this sick cult organization/ideology masquerading as a treatment for addictions, after reading your site thouroughly I kept going to meetings for a month just to observe and everything you and others have said was True and more... Now that I have freed myself from their Ideology of disempowerment I have close to a year of sobriety, Am happy, healthy, and I'm not looking back (Stanton Peele's books have been a big help)... one consolation is I never have to go to one of those stupid meetings again!

Hello Jack,

Congratulations on your sobriety and your freedom. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. And thanks for the thanks.

Yes, I've been followed Charlie Sheen's debácle, including Dr. Drew Pinsky's comments.

Alas, I think Charlie may well have mental problems, probably a bipolar disorder. I cannot say for sure because I don't know enough of the details and I'm also not a qualified psychiatrist, but I've got my suspicions. His behavior does indicate a problem.

I saw one interview on TV where Charlie Sheen was asked if he had a bipolar disorder, and he half-admitted that he did. Then he just shrugged it off and claimed that it didn't matter if he was a little different from other people, he didn't need to take any medications. Then he went on to claim that he was far superior to "normal" people, which is apparently also characteristic of a bipolar disorder — delusions of grandeur and omnipotence.

I do not think Charlie is crazy for rejecting Alcoholics Anonymous though. Even someone who is a bit nutty can occasionally see the truth. And again, even though I can't say for sure, he does seem to be clean and sober at the moment — he passed a voluntary drug test — which points all the more at a mental disorder giving him troubles.

He has my sympathy. I hope he can get his life straightened out.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Conduct is three quarters of our life and its largest concern.
**       ==  Matthew Arnold (1822—1888)

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 4:46 pm     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: "Craig M."
Subject: Comments

I hope this gets to you, but I could not find a posting section of you site.

I have spent a lot of the day reading your stuff on line. The info on the Oxford Group was very enlightening. I am a recovered alcoholic with 28 + years of sobriety. I spent I got sober at 20, before I could drink legally. The 12 steps and various programs helped me to get and stay sober. I also agree that I may have quit on my own, but it may have taken a lot longer without the structure of a program.

At about 10 years clean I joined the Navy, and since that time I have not attended many meetings. I got tired to the foul language, and dis-ease that most meetings and clubs have. Until today I have never really looked at the implications of how the wording of the steps as a cult methods of control. However, you do make a good case. I too have heard people tell others to go off their medications and I always stated in meetings that this is never addressed anywhere in the BB.

After the Navy I was "saved" and worked with several churches to help develop "Christian" 12 step programs going. Unfortunately my family and I were treated worse in the Christian Churches that we ever were in AA. So I guess you have to define what is a cult, because to me a lot of the Churches are way more cultish than AA no matter what the origins of the program.

Thanks for the site and keep up the good work.

Craig M.

Hello Craig,

Thanks for the letter and thanks for the thanks, and congratulations on your sobriety.

Yes, some churches are real cults too. In fact, I think there are more church-like cults than any other kind. There are some non-religious cults like Amway and Scientology, and political cults built around the personality of a leader — Stalin, Mao, Sir Oswald Mosley, or Lyndon LaRouche, but the churchy cults predominate. It's amazing how many nuts and fruits someone can gather if he starts bragging about having a special hotline to God.

That whole thing about setting up "Christian 12-Step groups" is such a huge mistake. There is nothing Christian about the 12 Steps. I am reminded of William Playfair's analysis of the situation:

The irony of a Twelve Step program customized for Christians is that many who use it believe it is not only effective but Biblical. ... If the original Twelve Step program needs to be "adapted" for Christians, it seems odd to say that it is "Biblically based." What kind of double talk is going on here? Unfortunately, this kind of confusion is characteristic of the literature of "Christianized" recovery programs.
      After all is said and done, Christians do not seem to be making the recovery industry approach more compatible with Biblical Christianity. On the contrary, the recovery industry seems to be influencing the Christian approach.
The Useful Lie, William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson, pages 84-85, and 185-186 (footnote).

See: The Heresy Of The Twelve Steps, here and here for more.

By the way, I did define what is a cult. See The Cult Test.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The worst deluded are the self-deluded.
**        ==  Christian Nestell Bovee (1820—1904), American author and editor

Date: Wed, March 2, 2011 2:35 pm     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: "Craig M."
Subject: bibliography

Wow, great list, did you actually read all of this stuff. Anyway, thanks for the awsome research for your sites.

Craig M.

Hello again, Craig,

Thanks for the thanks. Yes, I've read most all of them. A few, I only read a few chapters, just what I needed, but most of them, the whole mess. And it took a while. I've been at it 10 years now.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 7:40 pm     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: (no name)
Subject: (no subject)

I don't even go to AA, I don't even drink... however I know Clancy I. and I think the bashing you do of him, while hiding your own name and face is quite cowardly.

I actually do not think there is a person more humble than Clancy or has helped more people find sobriety. I wonder how long you have been sober or if you even are? Or if you have just traded one addiction for another as most addict brain people tend to do who do not actually uncover the reasons for their behavior in the first place.

I just wonder how many people you have ever helped.

Hello no name,

I do not hide my name or my face. My name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Forest Grove, Oregon. I have said that many, many times. Apparently you have not really read much of my web site.

And here is a picture of me:

Canada Goose goslings and me

You claim that you are not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. You sure sound like one of Clancy's Clones. How do you know that Clancy has "helped so many people find sobriety"? He told you? And how did you decide that Clancy was "humble"?

Would you care to answer any of the charges against Clancy that people have sent in? Like sexual exploitation of women members and telling sick people not to take their medications, and claiming that he knows more about Bipolar Disorder than the doctors? Here is the list of letters: Stories about Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group

By the way, I have 10 years clean and sober now. Ten years off of cigarettes, too. How about you?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.
**      ==  Sir Herbert Spencer, Social Statistics, IV

Date: Tue, March 1, 2011 1:17 am     (answered 3 March 2011)
From: "Nick W."
Subject: I've just read your piece on Bill W

I cannot remember the last time that I read such ill informed and ill intention rubbish. It seems that you have a gruge, or an opinion, and have just cast around for ways to air it.

Some of your examples are nonsense, and if you look at the big picture you can see how many people Bill was party to helping with his work. Perfect;human; ill- yes all of those, but he tried and did a lot of good for many people

Why don"t YOU try doing something positive, it might help you too?



Hello Nick,

Would you care to get specific? Which "some examples" are allegedly nonsense?

Which of the facts that I have stated are wrong?

And while we are at it, what is the real A.A. success rate? If we send 1000 alcoholics to A.A., how many of them will be clean and sober a year later? (Hint: the answer is here.)

For that matter, what was the actual A.A. success rate when Bill Wilson was alive and "saving" people?

You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

You can read more about Bill's successes here.

You can read more about Bill's insanity here.

Have a good day.

== 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, William G. Wilson, page 96.

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 1:45 pm     (answered 5 March 2011)
From: "Jeff M."
Subject: AA cost me my career


I need your help. I was railroaded into an AA program and lost my career because of it. It is a pretty fucked up story.

I would like to share it with you and see if you can lead me in the right direction.



Cell : 262 xxx xxxx

Hello Jeff,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I'll help if I can.

Have a good day now. (No joke. I know that sounds wierd, all things considered, but please try anyway.)

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike;
**      each has their suffering.
**    Some suffer too much, others too little.
**      ==  Buddha

Date: Mon, February 28, 2011 11:11 am     (answered 5 March 2011)
From: "Tobias T."
Subject: Thank you so very much

Dear Terry,

I have enormous gratitude for your immense work on the Orange Papers. Your impeccable research, your excellent writing, your fearless sleuthing, the exemplary patience you repeatedly show in response to vicious and illogical attack letters and your overall fortitude in finding the truth and publishing it has been a huge inspiration to me on many levels. I really can't thank you enough! Within a few days of reading some of the pages on your website three months ago I broke away from all the 12-step groups I had been attending for two and half years and haven't darkened their doors since. Here in the Orange Papers is liberation at last and cogent answers to the questions that never got answered by sponsors or groupers in any of the many programs I tried! Your work has really helped me to wake up.

I live in a community that is highly susceptible to New Age cults, Eastern religions and therapies and therapists of all kinds, self help and otherwise. I am not an alcoholic, but started attending Alanon meetings in concern and support for a friend struggling with alcohol. Being told that I had a problem and that I better start working on it led me to 'sex addict' groups and to finding a step-junkie — 'it's all good' — sponsor who encouraged me to attend step study courses at the local AA center. I had so many questions, but was told not to indulge my stinkin' thinkin' but instead to go to meetings and work the steps and keep confessing my wrongs and I'd find answers. It was hard for me to uncover the illusory nature of the 12 steps in the midst of the constant carnival of competitive public confessions and unsupervised pseudo therapy that the meetings devolve into. Love-bombing, endless step propaganda and disguised fundamentalism gets so mixed in with all kinds of psychobabble and faddish New Age and Eastern paraphrasing that I couldn't tell up from down. The Orange Papers cut through it all like a surgical knife.

As an HIV positive gay man of Jewish descent, the enormity of Buchman's skin-crawling deceptiveness, his pro-Nazi right wing philosophy and obvious internalized homophobia hit me like a bucket of cold water. I gathered up all the pamphlets, step workbooks, the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve that I had underlined and highlighted and shredded them with curses into my recycle bin. Dust to dust. As I continued to read your disclosures of what a hypocritical and narcissistic charlatan Bill Wilson really was, my disgust and horror mounted. I couldn't believe I'd been susceptible to this nonsense!

Nowadays in trying to understand my gullibility I don't go to a group to ask questions or confess my sins. I take your cult test, I read some more letters, I browse again through the Orange Papers. Regular reading of The Orange Papers and the letters you respond so admirably to have replaced the time waste of meetings and the nonsense of the Big Book and the badly written offshoots written as scripture for all the groups that have sprung up like weeds. I feel so much better now! I printed out the photo of you with the goslings and pasted it above my computer for inspiration. I never want to see Bill's photo again, especially the way they have it framed at the local AA headquarters while creepily claiming not to hero worship him.

I wasted a lot of time and money going to meetings. To counterbalance that I'd like to contribute a fraction of that money to help you defray costs related to this important and life-saving website. Thanks for being so instrumental in getting my life back on track. You are a great gift, and a beautiful man.


P.S. Could you please send me a P.O. box or snail mail address where I can mail you a VISA gift card and a check. Thank you again, Terry, from the bottom of my heart.

Hello Toby,

Thank you for a very flattering letter. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better. And are free now.

It's interesting how the 12-Step cult goes after everybody. I mean, you weren't an alcoholic or a drug addict — you just had a friend who was — but they still recruited you and insisted that you needed the Steps too. Yep, it's a cult, not a cure.

I like your remark about "the constant carnival of competitive public confessions". Did you notice that the British humor magazine Punch nailed the Oxford Group for the same thing 77 years ago?

Organized match play has not yet begun, but teams of eight from two different colleges will meet informally in a neutral room, and confess against each other, sin for sin. Balliol, I hear, has a second team. Indeed, there were great tales of a sensational match between Wadham and Balliol II. After seven heats the scores were level, but in the final heat the Balliol captain defeated his opposite number by a narrow margin. The Wadham captain made a generous speech, in which he freely admitted that the worst side had won.
"THE GROUPS IN OXFORD" by G. F. Allen, pages 18-19, writing in
Oxford and the Groups; The Influence of the Groups considered by Rev. G. F. Allen, John Maud, Miss B. E. Gwyer, C. R. Morris, W. H. Auden, R. H. S. Crossman, Dr. L. P. Jacks, Rev. E. R. Micklem, Rev. J. W. C. Wand, Rev. M. C. D'Arcy, S.J., Professor L. W. Grensted,     Edited by R. H. S. Crossman;     Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1934.

About the New Age cults and Eastern religions and all of that: Yes, boy does that sound familiar. Being a child of the 'sixties, I saw a lot of that stuff. And I still believe in a lot of it too, in spite of the fact that so much of it was fraud and phony. It seems like more than 90% of all of the "gurus" and "teachers" from the East and the West who popped up in the 'sixties and 'seventies have turned out to be frauds and failures, or worse. Most of them were phony fakes from the very beginning, but some were actually genuine students on the Path who fell victim to temptation, usually "women and gold". That was the warning that Baba Ram Dass's teacher Neem Karoli Baba was constantly intoning to Baba Ram Dass, "Women and gold". Watch out, he was saying, or they will be your downfall.

So many downfell. I can count the old gurus from the 'sixties that I still trust and admire on the fingers of one hand. But I guess that's lucky. Some people have nobody.

To everybody in general — about shredding 12-Step literature: In the future, please maybe send some of the junk to me, and I'll gleefully shred it in a different way. I already have plenty of Big Books and 12X12's, and don't need any more of them (other than maybe a genuine first edition BB), but I actually don't have any 12-Step workbooks. Those would be interesting to see. And brochures are small and easily mailed, and interesting. I have a bunch of them, but there are a zillion more. So if you are thinking of having a bonfire, you might consider unloading some of the junk on me — the stuff I don't have — and I'll add it to my research library.

And the grand prize that I would really like to see is an original multilith copy of the Big Book. That was the mimeograph-like printing of the Big Book that Bill Wilson made and sold for $3.50 before the official first-edition printing, that contained no copyright notice and thus destroyed the copyright of the Big Book.

Now I realize that the odds of someone just running across one of those multilith copies are as remote as the odds of finding a 20-carat diamond or a Rembrandt painting at Goodwill, but it could happen.

The Rembrandt painting happened, right here in Portland. No joke. At a Goodwill where I often shopped, before moving out to the boondocks, no less. An old couple died, and the cleaning crew just cleared out their apartment and sent everything to Goodwill, including a small ugly old painting that nobody could identify. Nobody knew what it was or had any idea of its value, so off to Goodwill with it. It was just a small piece of a larger painting that had gotten chopped up into pieces centuries ago, but it was a genuine Rembrandt. Unfortunately, it wasn't me who bought it out of Goodwill.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The Puritan western Europeans have never had much tolerance for fun.
**       == Folklorist Alan Lomax, Fresh Air, NPR/OPB, 2:11 PM 7 January 2011

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

Dragon boats
Dragon boats

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Wed, March 2, 2011 2:37 pm     (answered 6 March 2011)
From: "Blame Denial"
Subject: Charlie Sheen


I hate to admit it but the whole Charlie Sheen thing has got me feeling all outspoken again and I happened to chance upon one of your letters where you summed the whole saga up so well:

Hello O_o,

Charlie Sheen apparently agrees with me about one thing.
That does not constitute agreement about everything.

The propaganda trick that you are trying to use is called The Fallacy of One Similarity.

(Not to mention Sarcasm.)

You are also trying to infer that Charlie Sheen is wrong about everything because he has a drug problem. That is a standard 12-Step cult characteristic — two of them, in fact:

Somebody having a drink or drug problem does not invalidate his whole life, and make him wrong about everything. But you would never know that from listening to Steppers.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Absolutely spot on. I just wanted to "share" (ha ha — jokes) what I posted on a forum regarding it all. I think we are in agreement. I trust you are well.

B l A m E

PS I should get back on the case re: that video highlighting how much Hollywood plug AA — it suddenly has so much relevance.

My post:

I have been following the Charlie Sheen epic from across the pond and it gives me mixed feelings/thoughts. I do not really know that much about Sheen other than he is a Hollywood actor. That said I downloaded both the Alex Jones and Piers Morgan interviews (I thought the latter had left England for good — jokes). However before watching them I caught a piece which I think was on ABC where he was being interviewed in his home — he did not come across well at all, and as Ray says, having those two women around isn't helping his cause. After the Alex Jones interview I felt I knew Sheen a little better and in a way sort of understood how what he says might sound off the wall, but in fact actually makes a lot of sense. I noticed that Jones seemed to actually care about the ramifications of what his guest was saying (unusual for him!) and at one stage he even finished a sentenced for Sheen in case people thought he truly meant what he said (the one about murder). Morgan didn't go as far as that but he did provide the viewer with a glimpse into what it means to be friends with Sheen. I also noted from the Morgan interview that Sheen's publicist had quit — does this mean that Sheen has been fielding all the calls from the media himself and arranging all these interviews? (Somewhat amusingly Alex said in his interview that he understood Sheen would not be doing too many interviews!)

It seems to me that Sheen has quite frankly had enough of the program, and he is especially bored with the monotony of the slogans and the lack of individuality/expression permitted within the steps. (On reflection it has always amazed that AA appeals to so many in the creative industries — it sapped me of every last shed of what made me me when I was in it.) When Morgan points out that "addiction experts" think he is displaying classic signs of being on a "pink cloud" having recently ceased to take drugs, Sheen replies by saying that is not why he is "manic" and it is rather because he has finally broken free — I am sure all of us on this board know that feeling. I thought Sheen was at his best during and after the Dr Drew clip. Of course he [Sheen] is absolutely right — why are "addicts" stereotyped to such an extent that someone who has never met another is allowed to make judgments about their childhood on TV?

I admire Sheen having watched both interviews but I cannot help but feel that is more than likely the case because I share his views on AA. Playing Devil's Advocate, if I didn't, and all I heard was what the media were telling us, I think I'd write him off as just another "addict in denial". I also don't really understand what the problem with him being full of himself is — he is the highest paid TV actor in the World. If he was not unique he would not be where he is. It must be very hard for someone with his talent to be told that he must now all of a sudden be like everyone else, which is what he tells us AA insists he does. I am sure we all know only too well how angry we were left feeling when we realised what AA was really about. Perhaps that is what is driving him at the moment? Of course there is the other issue of CBS cancelling the show. Sheen admits he wants his job back and I wonder how much that might affect his willingness to take this too far.

Call me cynical but I cannot help but feel that this is going to end up being a case of AA eventually being proven "right" — at least in their eyes. It annoys me that I can literally feel members willing him to fail, just so they can delude themselves into believing he was wrong in everything he said, even though he is very much on the money when it comes to the program.

All said and done I wish him the best.

B l A m E

Hello again, Blame,

It's good to hear from you again.

Something I wasn't aware of until yesterday is that Charlie's father, Martin Sheen, is a committed true-believer 12-Stepper who has been shoving Charlie into jaws of the 12-Step monster for more than 20 years. That's why Charlie is so angry and passionate about "12-Step Nazis".

(And now I understand better why the TV program called "The West Wing", where Martin Sheen played the President of the United States, had so many plugs for A.A. in it. In that show, both the Vice President and the White House Chief of Staff were supposedly secret A.A. members, and there were hints that the President was, too. Of course nobody explained how the other participants in their A.A. meetings were security cleared for receiving top secret confessions and state secrets. They never showed that. They also never explained how people who were "powerless" over their addictions were qualified to run the most militarily powerful nation on Earth.)

I just learned that from Dr. Stanton Peele, who gave an interview on blogtalkradio.com a few days ago. It turns out that Charlie has already been through the 12-Step mill for many, many years, and knows all about the A.A. that he hates. Definitely give it a listen — Stanton has a lot of good things to say:

I notice the hypocrisy and double standard: If Charlie fails to stay sober, then that supposedly proves that you can't do it without the 12-Step religion, and that Charlie is "wrong about A.A.". But the A.A. true believers won't admit that Charlie's current problems prove that the 12-Step routine does not work — not even after 20 years. Oh no, it's all Charlie's fault. That is the same old "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" con game, played with sick people's lives.

I also notice the glee that 12-Steppers have in their voices as they describe Charlie's melt-down. The comments on many of the forums are downright vicious, as if Charlie deserves the death sentence for daring to criticize A.A. The Schadenfreude is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. But I didn't hear the same sadistic glee when Mel Gibson, another well-known true-believer 12-Stepper, melted down. Nope. The Steppers were silent about Mel Gibson's involvement with A.A., and its apparent total failure to fix Mel.

Did you know that Mel Gibson is so into A.A. that when he was filming Braveheart, they would stop shooting to have an A.A. meeting, right there on the set? Can you imagine an A.A. meeting where all of the participants are sitting around dressed in kilts and confessing their shortcomings?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.
**       == François, Duc de la Rochefoucauld [1613—1680], Maxim 218

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 26 April 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters226.html

Copyright © 2014, A. Orange