Letters, We Get Mail, CLXVII
by A. Orange

Date: Sun, April 4, 2010 4:57 pm     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: "Matt"
Subject: AA lies

Thanks for the info about the lies of AA. I'm not really familiar with your style of criticism, so I became confused as to which points you were making. I suppose I should have interpreted most of your writing as sarcasm.

Hello Shapiro,

Thanks for the letter.

No I am not being sarcastic. Oh, I may use sarcasm and humor a little bit, like when I have Batman and Robin discussing Doorknob Almighty, but by and large, I mean what I say quite literally.

In any case, you make some solid arguments, but I am afraid that the simple truth about AA — or whatever you want to call it (cult, self-help group, religion, faith-healers, etc.) — is that it provides a program to remove the barriers between a life run by Self (ego) and a world not run by Self. For many of us, that requires a spiritual awakening and connection which has to be reestablished regularly.

Right there, you have demonstrated what is wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous. That whole rap is bullshit. Pardon my language, but that is bullshit, pure and simple. "Ego" or "Self", with a capital 'S', is not the cause of alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction.

I know that line is standard A.A. dogma. It was also standard Oxford Group dogma. And such dogma is why Alcoholics Anonymous does not work to make alcoholics quit drinking. Reheated Buchmanism is not a cure for alcoholism.

And it also requires regular admission of the mistakes one makes while interacting with demanding wives, children, employers, neighbors, and strangers, not to mention domesticated and wild animals! I don't see how you could oppose admission of one's faults. I am capable of serious finger-pointing, and I have come to learn that it is rarely justified (and even then I am still unjustified in being angry or acting out in anger).

There is zero evidence that engaging in "regular" confession sessions makes alcoholics quit drinking. The evidence is that the A.A. practices raise the death rate in alcoholics, including raising the suicide rate. A.A. also raises the rate of binge drinking, and raises the rate of rearrests.

I wish you the best of luck, but I can only tell you that it is very liberating to walk around town, look people in the eye, and be cordial, especially to my loved ones.

Yes, quitting excessive drinking really makes you feel better. And quitting both drinking and smoking can make you feel fantastically better. That has nothing to do with practicing Buchmanism, of course.

The simple fact of the matter is that, for alcoholics that drank like I did, there is really only one solution to living a life happy, joyous, free... or at least somewhat comfortable.

Only one solution. That is a standard cult rap. "Only our guru/church/group/organization has the magic answer." That is, in fact, one of the key characteristics of a cult. It's in the Cult Test.

And of course, the truth is that far, far more alcoholics successfully drinking without A.A. than with it.


You have a good day too, Matt.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been
**     in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words,
**     that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. 

Date: Thu, April 8, 2010 1:38 am     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: "M.D."

I just got out of Renascent house in Toronto.

I gained about 15-20 lbs. over the course of my 21 day stay.

I agree with your views on AA.

I couldn't admit I was powerless and was told I was, regardless... and that I needed to shut up becuase I didn't know anything about sobriety. It was a hard pill to swallow, but the food served there was tasty so I stayed for the 21 days.

I "faked it" for my stay there. What I noticed was the majority of the younger 'clients' were seeking to use the defense of the "disease concept" for court purposes and to deflect responsibilities.

Just thought I'd share.



Hello, MD,

Thanks for the letter, and the information on Renascent. What you say makes sense. And doesn't the "disease concept" make such a perfect excuse? "It isn't my fault that I got drunk. I didn't really want to do it, you know. I have a disease, like the flu."

(Readers: previous discussions of Renascent are located here and here.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We all may have come on different ships,
**      but we're in the same boat now.
**         ==  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Date: Mon, April 5, 2010 6:12 am     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: "Pamela W"
Subject: Found your website

How you come to write and research this information?

Couldn't find the beginning .... Of how you got started on this writing project.

Hi Pamela,

Here is the list of answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. who are you
  5. who are you, again
  6. really an alcoholic...
  7. definitions of "an alcoholic"
  8. the story about "Rat Park"
  9. history of the Orange Papers, and
  10. creation of the web site
  11. censorship, the Orange Papers censored and erased by Yahoo Geocities
  12. the "Orange" name.
  13. A biography written for SOS
  14. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those
**      three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of
**      conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them.
**          ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Sat, April 3, 2010 12:49 pm     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: a
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult


I wanted to write and thank you for the work that you put into this as I have recently been tempted to write on the subject myself.

Thank you — thank you — thank you!

I'm glad to see that there are still some intelligent people in this world. I've yet to read the entire document but what I have read so far is right on.

Hopefully you have considered publishing this.

— Andrew

Hello Andrew,

Thank you for the compliments.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man
**     but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time.
**          ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Fri, April 2, 2010 11:07 am     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: "William R."
Subject: Hello from Kevin

Hi Orange.

I am just writing you to wish you the best on your housing problem.

I have enjoyed reading your site. I quit drinking and smoking last July after my 2nd refusal give a breath test.

I quit on my own. I have seen AA and what it is. It is a bad place to try to solve any kind of problem. Very strange people tend to stick around the place.

I live up north of you on Whidbey Island.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Thanks again for letting the truth be known about the cult of AA.

Kevin R.

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the compliments and everything. I'm doing well, and am finally in a new place, here.

Congratulations on quitting smoking and drinking. I know that you must feel a lot better now.

So have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.
**          ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Fri, April 9, 2010 11:49 pm     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: Keith O.
Subject: thanks but how do I present this to my wife?

Thank you Orange — But before I go crazy and leave my wife and kids how do I explain after going to AA meetings for more than 5 years (on and off of course!) that the program is "INSANE"?

Regards Keith

Keith O.

Hello Keith,

I know that you are just being sarcastic, but why do you have to explain it to your wife?

You did not say whether you have 5 years of sobriety in A.A.; just that you have been going to meetings for 5 years.

Apparently you like the meetings, and you choose to overlook the bad side of A.A. That is your choice.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The instinctive need to be the member of a closely knit group
**    fighting for common ideals may grow so strong that it becomes
**    inessential what these ideals are.
**       ==  Konrad Lorenz

Date: Sat, April 17, 2010 2:53 pm     (answered 2 June 2010)
From: "Anthony P."
Subject: inquiry

To whom it may concern:

What a wonderfully informative website. I stumbled across it just recently and the material has kept me captivated. Are people able to contact you with questions, are you an advocate, do you have a mission, is there a cause, or something that I can learn more about? I am assuming you must be someone that was in AA for a long enough period of time that you really experienced it first hand.

What I personally think is so problematic with AA and 12 Step programs is besides the fact that they are all over the place, they simply don't differentiate between the diversity of people or the severity of the behavior. Not every one that drinks and gets a DUI is an alcoholic. Not every one that gets arrested for drug possession is a drug addict. They don't see a difference. However you come into the system, you are diseased and powerless and if you resist these labels, you are in denial. This really is a disservice to every one.

I like the information about Bill Wilson and smoking. Even if he considered nicotine and caffeine minor vices, he was still powerless over addictive substances that in the case of nicotine would eventually kill him. Why was he unable to admit his powerlessness over cigarettes and work the steps? That's all you see today at AA meetings are people consuming large amounts coffee and sugar and cigarettes.

Here's my theory. If you have too much to drink it is easily observable in you behavior. Nobody was ever pulled over for smoking too many cigarettes or committed a crime high on tobacco. That's why they were minor vices. But as you pointed out, if the spiritual practice was effective in maintaining sobriety, why was it not able to control other things?


Hi Anthony,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

Starting at the top,

  1. I can be contacted, and asked questions. You just did.

  2. Am I an advocate? Yes, I guess so. I am advocating sanity, and an end to shoving quackery on sick addicts.

  3. There is a list of answers to the history questions, here.

  4. About: "they simply don't differentiate between the diversity of people or the severity of the behavior."

    Yes, that is it exactly. Trying to shove a standard one-size-fits-all cure on a variety of alcohol abusers or addicts is very bad medicine. As one doctor said, "A one-size-fits-all cure is a good way to kill a lot of patients."

    Insistence that there is a standard one-size-fits-all panacea is also a standard characteristic of a cult with a simple-minded quack cure: 71. We Have The Panacea.

  5. My agenda is just to get the truth out there. Too many people are getting hurt by having an old cult religion shoved on them when they need real medical help. And A.A., and members, cheer-leaders, shills, and 12-Step treatment centers run an incredibly successful propaganda and publicity machine to promote the 12-Step "cure".

  6. The question about why Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob couldn't use the 12-Step spiritual cure to quit smoking is a very good question, one that the true believers tap dance away from nervously, and try to minimize and deny. That question reveals that the 12-Step cure for addictions does not really work. After 10, 20, or 30 years of "working the Steps", both Bill and Dr. Bob should have been totally addiction free, spiritual and clean and serene, not compulsive chain smokers.

    We have had several discussions about that. Here are some of them:

    1. ...all the dangers of smoking were not even known in 1939.

    2. Cigarettes and coffee are not in the same league as the harder stuff.

    3. The wife in this story is a co-dependant. She is addicted to control over the alcoholic.

    4. I think your idea with the smoking was ignorant. At the time the book was written tabacco was considered a deadly problem.

    5. Why do you give a shit if recovering alcoholics smoke cigarettes?

    6. It's hard to understand how the folks that are so devoted to quitting alcohol and other drugs can rationalize their continued use of tobacco!

    7. ...they were commodities, without known health consequences.

    8. ...well smoking wasn't really recognised as a major health problem until the last 1970's and 1980's.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Sat, April 24, 2010 10:48 am     (answered 3 June 2010)
From: "Terri"
Subject: Ketamine

Hi Terry,

Just found this link in the comments section after reading an article on Alternet. I haven't researched this, so I do not know the validity. Seems they are using a drug called Ketamine to produce a near death experience which they say may possibly cure alcoholism (and other things). Sounds like they are attempting to produce a spiritual experience??? Russia seems to be where they are doing the most work with this, but looks like Yale is getting in on the action too.

A drug-induced spiritual experience??? Haven't we already experimented with this?? LSD?

Wonder what kind of cult will develop after these drug-induced near death experiences?

Possible that we got Alcoholics Anonymous out of belladonna?? Just made me wonder...


I didn't check your website to see if you have anything on Ketamine. This may be old news to you. If so, disregard.


Hello Terri,

Thank you for the tip. It is not old news at all, and I had not heard of it before.

And yes, such research has been done before, especially with LSD. Either Timothy Leary or one of his contemporaries was getting a great success rate with treating alcoholics with LSD trips, back in the early 'sixties. The more I think about it, I seem to recall that it was an experimental 3-day alcoholism treatment program in Canada.

  • Day one was relaxation, counseling, and preparation for the trip.
  • Day two was tripping on LSD.
  • Day three was debriefing and counseling.

And I recall that they had a lot of alcoholics just snap and get clean and clear and stop drinking right then and there. I don't know what follow-up studies were done to see how long the improvement lasted.

Unfortunately, all such research stopped when LSD was declared illegal.

I don't know a great deal about Ketamine. I just remember that John Lilly loved the stuff, and wrote about it in Center of the Cyclone. He called it "Vitamin K".

I'll check out that link.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Experience is not what happens to a man,
**     it's what a man does with what happens to him.
**        ==  Aldous Huxley

Date: Sat, April 24, 2010 3:20 pm     (answered 3 June 2010)
From: "Kyle S."
Subject: It doesn't work

Dear A. Orange,

I stumbled upon your diatribe while searching alt AA solutions. I love your rebuttals and agree, for the most part. AA made me very sad and I do not have the confidence nor intellect to verbalize exactly why. True, true, I was always to blame; a failure, not committed, constitutionally incapable, ad nauseum. I still do not know the answer, you have put into words so eloquently why AA smacked bizarre to me, raised the hair on the back of my neck, made my stomach ache.

Hello Kyle,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

I think you do know the answer. A.A. makes you feel bad. That is just what it does to people. That is intentional. The goal is to weaken you and make you dependent on the cult, so that you will think that you need A.A. for the rest of your life. The whole thrust of the 12 Steps is to have you wallowing in guilt and self-criticism and declarations of powerlessness and incompetence. It even drives some people to suicide.

My only question is why AA grows and tries so hard? It is nonprofit, correct? Perhaps human nature, we want to gather, herd and control? Four years (hush) in AA, I met very few that had what I wanted, most could not expand beyond the immediate "home group".

A.A. is a failure as a cure for alcohol addiction, but it is very successful at self-promotion and propaganda and spreading its goofy ideas as "the truth about alcoholism".

A.A. is not entirely non-profit. Alcoholics Anonymous actually has two corporations. The first is the book-publishing company, Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., that makes a lot of profits. After deductions for expenses and supporting executives in the style to which they would like to become accustomed ($70,000 to $125,000 per year, each), the remaining profits go to the non-profit corporation, called "The General Service Organization" (GSO).

CORRECTION (2011.03.28): It turns out that the trustees are not paid. But other people get lots more. The President and General Manager of A.A. Greg Muth gets $125,000 from both AAWS and the GSB (General Service Board of A.A.), for a total of $250,000 per year. And then his friend Thomas Jasper gets $469,850 for being a "Senior Advisor". And many others get salaries in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 each. Look here.

Also, the A.A. leaders quietly reincorporated A.A.W.S. as a non-profit corporation many years ago, which means that they don't have to pay taxes on their book sales.

But the real money is in the treatment centers. Those things charge anything from $7000 to $40,000 for a 28-day stay and course of indoctrination in the 12-Step religion. Last year, The New York Times printed the statement that the recovery industry was a $20 billion per year business (just in the USA). And 93% of the treatment centers sell the 12-Step quackery. So the promoters of "12-Step facilitation" have a lot of motivation to keep the scam going.

The treatment centers and the A.A. organization have a mutually helpful relationship: The treatment centers help A.A. by routing zillions of new members into "The Roomz", and A.A. declares that 12-Step treatment is the only thing that works, and sends all of the sick people to the 12-Step treatment centers. And the employees of those treatment centers, who act as counselors or staffers, are usually also A.A. members, "in recovery", and passing on the indoctrination that they got — "Freely giving away what was freely given to us." (But $10,000 for a 28-day A.A. meeting is not "free".)

The individual people who are members of the local groups have a variety of motives. Being a part of the herd is definitely one of them. We discussed their motives and desires a few times in the past, here and here.

I have a cocktail after work with friends sometimes and all is fine, it is when I have solitary time (I make sure I have plenty) when it gets problematic.

Thank you for your article, it helped me. Plan BB??

Yes, I plan some kind of BB or forum. I'm working on it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.
**        ==  Herman Hesse

Date: Tue, April 27, 2010 4:24 am     (answered 3 June 2010)
From: "Luke F."
Subject: 12 years wasted?


You have built an incredible treasury of knowledge here. The depth and detail are astounding. I truly feel Bill Wilson, The Oxford groups and AA are truly and fully debunked within this site.

Thank you SO much for your efforts. I hope this whole project has been as cathartic for you as it has for me in only a few hours of reading.

I got sober 8/26/97, and am still sober from that date.

Often I have wondered why sometimes AA just didn't feel "right" and up until tonight, had always taken it that it is due to the fact that I am not a "real alcoholic" (even by AAs definition) but am a pothead instead.

I know that I do not need to remain sober to continue to improve my life. I do know that simply being honest with myself would have eliminated 99% of the issues I have had with substance abuse.

A bit of active work would have repaired the other "character flaws" I most certainly display.

I also know that the biggest issue in my life then and now has not changed: lack of courage and laziness. The incredible lengths I am willing to go through to maintain my laziness is astounding to me.

I also clearly suffer from something I had never even heard a valid description of: I am a Narcissist. Nowhere near as extreme as Bill or Bob, but am definitely mentally ill. That is what I need to work on!

Knowing only too well how much of a sham this "program" is I cannot continue being a representative. Yes, I smoked pot too often, and yes, occasionally I drank to excess, but I am certainly no alcoholic nor addict.

I do believe that if I had some relief, some minor escape from the stresses in my life I might not have the physical problems I now have. I also believe I might have been able to keep a job all these years, instead of bouncing from job to job, mostly working under the table, never paying taxes or being part of society. I pay my bills begrudgingly and keep a roof over my head, but having the toys I want has always been far more important to me than paying my child support.

I have always felt a fraud and the longer I remain sober, the more I perpetuate that myth. I have no intention of becoming a classic drunk; I barely tolerate the taste or effect of alcohol. I do know there is a strong chance of my being mentally dependent on marijuana, but that is a chance I am willing to take to see if I can escape from the bondage of sobriety.

Luke F.

PS: even reading this email I see such a pattern of self-aggrandizement..."I", "power", "knowledge" more "I"...I need some help, not to confess my sins, but to fix my issues.

Thank you, Orange!

Hello Luke,

Thank you for the letter and thanks for the thanks.

I don't think you are a narcissist, or narcissistic. Quite the opposite, you are too down on yourself. You criticize yourself far too much, and you find fault with yourself too much. And, alas, you have a low opinion of yourself. All of those years of "searching and fearless moral inventories" have taken their toll.

By the way, real narcissists cannot stand criticism. They will defend themselves endlessly, and explain why you are wrong if you dare to criticize them, and often counter-attack viciously when criticized. What Bill Wilson called "emotional benders" was him throwing screaming temper tantrums, to overpower critics who disagreed with him, and get his own way. You aren't doing that.

The first thing that I would suggest is actually seeing a real doctor and find out if you are really mentally ill. I doubt that you are, but get it checked out. And if you do have a problem, it is possible that some medication might help. But that's up to the doctor.

Then, I suggest getting out of the rooms and getting involved in some do-good social activity. You could volunteer at some place that helps homeless people, or helps the elderly, like Meals on Wheels. Or builds houses for the poor, like Habitat for Humanity. Or just helps with any good cause. Plant trees and improve the environment. Pick up the trash in public spaces. Whatever. Take your pick.

The idea is, when you get busy helping others in simple and sane ways, that will turn your attention away from yourself, and you won't have so much time to criticize yourself. And then you will eventually discover that you are pretty good, not such a terrible narcissist after all.

By the way, thinking a good thought about yourself now and then, and wanting to think of yourself as a good person, is not narcissism. That behavior is called "being normal".

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There is in man an upwelling spring of life, energy, love,
**     whatever you like to call it. If a course is not cut for it,
**     it turns the ground round it into a swamp.
**        ==  Mark Rutherford

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

Carmen's family of Canada Goose goslings
Carmen's Family, the mother and goslings
Carmen is the on the left.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, April 24, 2010 9:02 pm     (answered 3 June 2010)
From: "Emily B."
Subject: Thank you


I am writing to thank you.

Today I saw a commercial about the Hallmark movie, "When Love is Not Enough" (The Lois Wilson story) and for some reason currently unknown to me, I Googled "Did Bill Wilson cheat on Lois Wilson" and your site was the very first one that came up in the Google results. I had no idea what lay ahead of me and how it would impact my views about my AA membership.

I appreciate your dedication and passion about the subject. Frankly, I've never seen a website as detailed and informative as yours, subject matter notwithstanding. I am interested to know if you were ever a member of AA — your knowledge is so in depth, it really is amazing. Or are you a therapist? What prompted you to start the site. I'm very interested in learning more.

My Background: I have been a member of AA since April 2002. I have never had a drink of alcohol or a drug since my very first meeting. I was 25 years old in 2002. I just collected my 8 year coin earlier this month. I'm also college educated Political Science major and worked the majority of my adult life in the legal field; I've not belonged to a "religious affiliation" until recently (now I am a member of the Unity Movement) and was a self-proclaimed agnostic when I entered AA in 2002; Therefore, questioning and critical thinking is a tenant of my life. I do not have a desire to use or drink for the rest of my life. I feel as if I'm done with that part of my life.

While I am not sure where what I will ultimately choose to do long term with respect to my involvement in AA, I sincerely appreciate you making the information available to people. I attended a meeting after reading through your site and it just wasn't the same. I do not know if I can ever have faith in the program again.

Seek and Ye Shall Find (as they say),
Thanks again,

P.S. Also, I have some items you might like for your archives — what address should I send them to?

Hello Emily,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your 8 years of sobriety. That is good.

Yes, I went to a bunch of A.A. and N.A. meetings, once upon a time. That history, and the answers to a lot of your questions, are to be found here.

I am not a therapist, although I keep getting questions that make me wish I had a lot more knowledge along those lines.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.

Date: Sat, April 24, 2010 9:24 pm     (answered 4 June 2010)
From: "Emily B."
Subject: Information on Early AA and Tom Powers

Have you seen this site?


Not yet, but I shall.

Date: Sun, April 25, 2010 3:00 pm     (answered 4 June 2010)
From: Penny
Subject: AA and Religious Faith

Just read your article and hip-hip-hooray!! I am an AA member, sober for 42 years and I want to thank you! You have no idea of the number of people who think Bill W. actually saw god. If you tell them he was hallucinating they look at you as if you have two heads. I am an Atheist/Humanist and have no sky god. I work hard at helping others that come into AA very confused and questioning. I tried to tell an ex-priest that I had no faith in my self and my spirit was broken. AA fixed that along with the not drinking thing without prayer and god. It was simply the love of people in the fellowship, their sharing of their experience along with the 12 Steps as I understood them. You are the first written article that I have seen that takes apart the god bit and I appreciate it.

Thank you so much.

Hello Penny,

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

You know, you sound like another good candidate for the N.R.L. — "the Newcomer Rescue League". So thanks for helping the newcomers.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

P.S.: I am still very wary of the 12 Steps, no matter how you understand them. Constant fault-finding and confessions are very unhealthy, and even drive people to mental breakdowns and suicide.

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you.
**     Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power
**     are still yours.
**         ==  Marcus Aurelius

Date: Sun, June 6, 2010 11:02 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: Penny
Subject: Re: AA and Religious Faith

Hey Orange! As a female, mother of seven, nationally known artist (retired), grandmother of 8, I do not qualify for your Rescue League! Well, perhaps, but very part time!

I was interested in your comments on self examination, confession etc.

On self examination, if my actions cause me extreme discomfort I perhaps might want a pain reliever. Hence the discovery of said actions, or actually reactions, might be a good thing to understand and stop. Try another action or reaction.

My understanding of your "confession" is pretty simple. I grew up with the idea of "what people do not know, cannot hurt you!" Today I have come to the conclusion that people cannot identify with perfection. You cannot really like people you do not know either. So in allowing people to know your imperfection you allow them to be part of your life. In knowing others imperfections and liking them anyway allows you to like yourself with your own imperfections.

I do not look at "spirituality" as connected to Religion. I look at it as they way one lives their life. Religion has to do with the "life after death," and spirituality has to do with "today". If you could prove to the world beyond a shadow of a doubt there was no heaven or hell religion would be a thing of the past. It is their hook and yes, based on fear.

At 73 years of age (in 4 days) I have a usefulness beyond grand kids, civic duties, bridge clubs etc. I took a young woman to 4 meetings because she has a seizure disorder and cannot drive right now. At one of the meetings a lady told of her 22 year old daughter committing suicide on Mothers Day. I was able to share my own experience with her (my parents suicide the day after Thanksgiving l957) and also share that in the following 10 years of drinking there was no healing, but that after a short period (18 mos.) in AA I had healed from that trauma. You see our past experience becomes a useful tool to help others.

According to the dictionary, AA does fit the word "Cult." All I know is that it is the most positive "cult" I have ever known. It does save peoples lives, returns self esteem, and helps fulfill our two basic psychological needs--to be useful to ourselves and others and to be able to give and receive love. Not bad for a Cult or Fellowship, or what ever you wish to call it.

When my husband became ill with Lewy Body Disease I had to stop my art work and care for him. That was an eight year stint. And yes, my friends in AA were my support group. There was no support group for Lewy Body Disease at the time and the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Support groups were useless to me.

They met once a month and I was dealing with a disintegrating man every day. The last 18 months one of his AA Sponsee's came every Monday so I could get to my noon meeting and have lunch with friends. One of my AA Sponsee's found me a part time nurse so I could have 5 hours to myself 3 times a week. My neighbors of 23 years did not even know his name.

There is a purpose for AA and/or any other group that helps people get their life back in order. Cut them some slack.

Sincerely, Penny

Hello Penny,

Thanks for the letter.

You know, it good that you have some nice people in your A.A. group who treated you decently and gave you some moral support when your husband was sick.

What is missing from your letter is any evidence that A.A. actually causes people to quit drinking alcohol.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.
**        ==  Émile Coue, Formula of autosuggestion

[The next letter from Penny is here

Date: Mon, April 26, 2010 12:12 pm     (answered 4 June 2010)
From: "Bobby B."

wow..just watched a documentary on Bill last night. Your writings sure paint a different Bill. I am not saying you are wrong and I am far from an abuser of anything but seafood but you shed light on someone that I thought did great things.

Very enlightening... Have a good day.
Bobby B.

Hi Bobby,

Thank you for the letter.

Let me guess: The TV program that you saw must have been the Hallmark movie about Lois Wilson, "When Love is Not Enough". (I knew it was coming.)

Well, I will answer the question for you: I am right and they are lying. I can say that with confidence even though I have not even seen that program yet.

This is nothing new. The previous Hallmark movie about Alcoholics Anonymous, "My Name Is Bill W.", was also a total work of fiction, a real white-wash, and a deliberate lie.

William Borchert, who wrote the screen play for "My Name Is Bill W.", hid a whole lot of facts, and falsified others, and changed a lot of history, and just lied a lot.

That whole Hallmark movie was just more cult propaganda. And now they have done the sequel to that piece of garbage.

The big question in my mind is, "Is the president of the Hallmark card company really a secret member of Alcoholics Anonymous? Why is Hallmark so eager to glorify and promote a lying cult religion?" I smell a rat.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.

UPDATE: There are more discussions of Borchert's movie "My Name is Bill W." here and here and here.

Date: Sun, May 2, 2010 8:07 pm     (answered 5 June 2010)
From: "Philipp M."
Subject: Hi orange

Hi, I just read your website and I'm a mazed at how much information you have gathered on the AA history.

Very interesting.

I have one question for you. Do you believe in God and spirituality?

It sounds like it.

Hello Philipp,

Thank you for the letter and the question. The simple answer is, "Yes, I am not an atheist."

Here you write:

"Please note that none of those means gives you any guarantees at all; most of the time, none of them, including drugs, really works for getting a spiritual experience. It takes a lot more than just an exercise or a dose to produce such an experience. The person's mind set is critically important, and setting is probably critical too. "Mind set" may include years of preparation, or even a lifetime of accumulated karma. (Some people would say "many lifetimes.") And then there just seems to be an element of luck. (Or, if you don't like the word "luck", then maybe cosmic good fortune, or good karma, or grace, or something.) Anyway, when it happens, it is great."

So does that mean in your opinion that there is such a thing as god and as spirituality?


And if so, I dont; really undeerstand the point of your criticism of AA on yoru website.

If God and spirit exists and if it helps alcoholics to get sober , than what is wrong with AA?

If God really exists, shouldn't everyone who has the opportunity how to be in contact with him be lucky?

You say that there is a way to get in touch with god through meditation or "karma", but then you say that it's ridiculous to say in the big book that we should be in touch with god at all times and carry out his will for us.

What is wrong with A.A.? Well, here is the list.

Yes, God exists (whatever God really is), but there is no reason to believe that God haunts A.A. meeting rooms. If I were God, I'd say,

"No way am I going to be associated with that mess of deceit and heresy. Sexually exploiting underage girls? Telling lies to newcomers? Telling sick people not to take their medications? Go to Hell."

And it is ridiculous to imagine that "we should be in touch with god at all times". That was one of the big problems with the Oxford Group, which Bill Wilson copied. All that A.A. is doing is repeating the mistakes of Dr. Frank Buchman.

A contemporary minister criticized the Oxford Group superstitions like this:

Groupists actually speak of 'listening-in' to the Holy Ghost: whenever they run up against a difficulty they stop for guidance. Such an idea of God is crudely anthropomorphic, derogatory to God's honor, and contrary to natural morality.... Guidance as understood by the Groups encourages all kinds of illusions; it undermines the sense of personal moral responsibility, it leads to fanaticism.
The Rt. Revd. M. J. Browne, Bishop of Galway, in his Catholic Truth Society Pamphlet, quoted in
The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament, by Tom Driberg, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, pages 195-196.

And Dr. Herbert Hensley Henson, the Bishop of Durham, said in his criticism of the Oxford Groups:

Groupism discloses in its conception of 'Guidance' precisely the same error as that which infects its conception of 'witness'. It 'seeks a sign'. It insists on something precise, concrete, calculable. Its temper of mind is rather Pharisaic than Christian. It seeks proofs of Divine action in what is abnormal, amazing, even miraculous. Its view of inspiration is mechanical, and its treatment of Scripture literalist. Thus it comes about that, even in the process of exalting the genuinely Christian conception of the 'guided life', it perverts and lowers it.
The Oxford Groups; The Charge Delivered At The Third Quadrennial Visitation Of His Diocese Together With An Introduction, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D., 1933, page 70.

        Here is another instance of the shallowness of thought and extremes of teaching of which the Group must be held guilty.
... If every passing thought is to be followed as Guidance, and every coincidence regarded as a Divine intervention, where are we to stop this side madness? Dr. Buchman has no authority whatever for his doctrine of direct guidance available at any moment.
        The "Quiet Time" encourages introspection: the pseudo-guidance is its result. Minds deranged, homes made tragic, careers broken, bitter disappointment following the unhappy or negative outcome of this so-called guidance — these are the consequences.
        I would sum up in the words of The [London] Times: "It must be the most serious charge against the Groups that they encourage their members to shirk the discipline of thought in favour of impulses received from they know not where."
        The teaching on Guidance is as great a superstition as any purged from the Church at the Reformation.
Saints Run Mad; A Criticism of the "Oxford" Group Movement, Marjorie Harrison (1934), pages 67-68.

See these links for the whole story:

  1. "Guidance" and listening to God
  2. Criticism of Frank Buchman's occult superstitions
  3. Poor behavior as a result of "Guidance"

I'm just curious to see you opinion on this,...

"Either god is or he isn't" So if he is, as you claim. Then what is all your criticism all about.

The fact that God exists does not mean that God "works the Steps", or approves of the strange superstitions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12 Steps are the words of Dr. Frank Buchman, not the Word Of God.

Nobody says AA invented anything new. In fact it is based on first century christianity and nobody claims anything else.

However no other movement has spread worldwide and helped millions of alcoholics and addicts to completely recover and turn their lives around and the lives of family and friends around them,...

The way AA is constructed is new in the sum of it's parts and has proven to work for everyone.

No, actually A.A. theology is not based on "First Century Christianity". Not at all. Dr. Frank Buchman made up that name and claimed that his cult was practicing First Century Christian Fellowship, but it wasn't.

Alcoholics Anonymous is based entirely on the heretical teachings of Frank Buchman. Please read The Religious Roots of A.A. and the Twelve Steps, and also The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

And your last line is a complete reversal of reality: "The way AA is constructed is new in the sum of it's parts and has proven to work for everyone."

No, actually, A.A. is a proven failure. A.A. has no better a success rate than no treatment or "help" at all. Alcoholics who quit drinking alone do just as well, and die less, and commit suicide less.

So what is your point really?

Do you have another "cure" for alcoholism, addiction and the many diseases that are cured with spiritual principles?

Is medication and therapy really helping with drug addiction and alcoholism, gambling, sex addiction, overeating and such?

That is a funny question. Since when are "alcoholism, addiction and ... many diseases ... cured with spiritual principles"? They aren't. That is pure quackery. That is what is wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous. They foist a hocus-pocus superstitious "cure" on sick people.

—And then, when the "cure" fails, they have the gall to declare that "There is no cure. We only get a one-day reprieve from our death sentence."
It is a bait-and-switch trick: First, a cure, and then, no cure.

And then they will say: "Besides, it's all your own fault that the 12 Steps didn't work, because you didn't really try and you didn't thoroughly follow our path and you didn't abandon Reason and just have faith and you are constitutionally dishonest with yourself and you were born that way."

There are much better ways to treat alcohol abuse, drug and alcohol addictions, and other problems like compulsive gambling and sexual addiction.

For starters, look here at this list of treatments for alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction:
== Statistics on the success rates of various treatment programs.
Notice how "Twelve-step facilitation" is so far down the list that you have to look for it. It's number 37 out of 48.
Also notice how 12-Step treatment has a negative success rating — the "Cumulative Evidence Score" is a minus 82, while the best treatments are rated positive 390 and 189.

Also see:
== The same statistics in a different format.

Then you can read about the actual tests of A.A. treatment of alcoholics which showed that A.A. made things worse, not better: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Then, as alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous, there are things like SMART, SOS, Lifering, and WFS, all of which are better than A.A. I just posted the whole list of them again, so I'll just point you to the list, here.

if so it would be curious to see that on your page as well with the exact medication listed and the exact medical and psychiological procedures.

Consult the previous links. In their web sites, SMART, Lifering, and SOS describe themselves and their methods in detail, so I will let them speak for themselves. The list that rates treatments also contains links to descriptions, and then you can look up other treatments with Wikipedia.

Thank you if you are willing to respond and if not I wish you a great week and keep up the good work.



Thanks for the good wishes, Philipp, and you have a good day too. And good luck with your recovery.

== 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: Fri, April 30, 2010 10:20 am     (answered 10 June 2010)
From: crlfunk
Subject: AA

If you don't believe in AA, that is your right, but you don't have to try to convince others that it is a sham, and dash the hopes of someone who can benefit from it. What ever prompted you to be so hateful? Do you realize how much time you have wasted on negativity? Have you never heard of doing something "productive"? Apparently not.

Hello "crlfunk",

Thanks for the letter.

Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step treatment centers push quack medicine on sick people, and even cause some of them to die. That is why I criticize A.A. and its "program".

Have you gone through one of the 12 step programs? I have, and my life and health changed dramatically for the better. I have found in the organization nothing of what you describe. I know many in the organization that have benefited and grown spiritually. Have you ever talked to people that have had a positive experience in a 12-step program? It shouldn't be hard. There are thousands out there.

I have not done the 12 Steps, nor will I ever do them. I also have not gotten my mind "audited" by Scientology, and I haven't done the practices of the Moonies, or Hari Krishnas, or any other cult, either. I also don't drink cyanide koolaid. The reason that I don't do those things is because I can look at what happened to other people who did them, and were hurt by them.

I have talked to many people who claim to have had positive experiences from doing the 12 Steps. Read the letters that I get. And I find that invariably, the A.A. boosters don't know how to determine if a cause-and-effect relationship exists between doing Frank Buchman's Oxford Group practices and happy sobriety.

People do drink, drug, and eat over negative emotions. When we figure out what is causing the negativity and work to deal with our problems, we don't have to abuse substances because we don't have the negative emotions to drive us to.

But A.A. causes lots more negative emotions, with all of the guilt induction and fault-finding and confessions, and teaching that you are powerless over alcohol and a disgusting sinner.

And, actually, "negative emotions" are not the cause of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. That is a typical cultish simple-minded answer to a complex problem, the belief that there is a "panmalefic" — one simple cause of all of your problems. Some people do drink because they are trying to drown out some negative emotions, but some other people drink because they have mental illnesses, like a Bipolar condition — which used to be called "manic-depressive" — and they drink to try to slow down the mania, or to cheer up the depression. Other people drink because they want an ecstatic rush. And some people drink because they are schizophrenic. And other people drink because they are sick and dying and in pain from some other disease (including tobacco addiction). That's why it is good to have a real doctor, not an A.A. sponsor with quack medical opinions, diagnosing alcoholics.

Actually, you could benefit from a 12 step program to work on your negativity, anger, resentment, lies, grandiosity, and anger to mention a few. Am I analyzing you? I don't have to. Your character defects come across clear and strong in your writing.

Objecting to quacks foisting a fraud on sick people is not a character defect that needs to be fixed.

NOT objecting to such fraud and quackery is a defect of character that needs to be fixed. So what is wrong with you, and why don't you fix it?

And your rap about "negativity" and negative emotions is ridiculous. You keep using that term — 5 times now. Here in the real world, we don't have to just "be positive" all of the time. Criticizing bad things is a good thing to do. I suppose if you had been there in Jonestown when they were handing out the cyanide-laced Flavoraid, you would have said to the people around you who were crying and moaning, "Hey! Don't be so negative! Cyanide is good for you. Besides, we are all going to Heaven!"

Why don't you find something worthwhile to spend your time on, like maybe doing some volunteer work? Of course, you may use it as a channel to spread your poison and bitterness.

I will say a prayer for you, because I feel sorry for your hatred, and just because it is the right thing to do..

p.s. I bet you don't go to church! That also comes across clearly in your writing as well.

And there you have revealed everything that needs to be said. Alcoholics Anonymous is just a two-bit religion that cannot tolerate one bit of criticism.

Of course, the success or failure rate of the goofy Alcoholics Anonymous "cure" or "solution" is not affected or changed by my going or not going to some church or other. That rap is just another lame ad hominem attack that is intended to divert attention from the real problem — that A.A. does not work to make alcoholics quit drinking.

When you say that my writing reveals that I don't go to church, what you really mean is that I have the irritating habit of telling the truth and criticizing lies — I don't talk like a brainwashed believer. Well thank you for the compliment.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Get a sponsor and have a crazy loser running your life for you.

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