Letters, We Get Mail, LXXXIII
by A. Orange

Date: Wed, May 2, 2007 1:15 pm
From: K9man
Subject: Cult???

I must say that as a member of AA I find your article on alcoholism and your theory that AA is cult to be totally ridiculous. I wonder what you have been drinking or using. What ever it is it really distorted your brain!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hello K9man,

I notice that you didn't offer a single fact to support your opinion — you just claimed that I must be brain-damaged from drugs or drinking. That is standard cult behavior — don't argue the facts (because you can't); just launch a personal attack on the critic "You are insane. You are immoral. You are leading people away from Salvation..."

That is such common cultish behavior that it is listed in The Cult Test as one of the 100 common cult characteristics.

Your letter is more evidence that Alcoholics Anonymous really is a cult.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

[2nd letter from K9man:]

Date: Sat, May 5, 2007 6:11 pm     (answered 10 May 2007)
From: K9manFL@aol.com
Subject: Salvation?

You speak of salvation. Let me set the record straight. I have a God of my understanding today. The good Lord has kept me sober for over 33 years. He has given me salvation on earth by giving me a daily reprieve from this horrendous disease. For that I am eternally grateful. I also believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do my best to be of service to my fellow man. " If you do this for the least of my brethren you have done it for me". What sort of good do you do for your fellow man? And what makes you an expert on salvation of the soul. To tell me that I'm leading others away from salvation?

Ridiculous!. How could you say such a thing? The only way we can see if we are worthy of salvation is after we pass from this world. It is Jesus who will decide if we met his criteria for salvation. Not man! All we can do is try our best to adhere to his teachings. It is said that you never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. You should attend a few open meetings to see the miracle of what sobriety has done for the common drunk. But for the grace of God we now found a better way to live. I follow my religion and also the teachings in AA. I believe that the program of AA was divinely inspired.

So, if you are not a recovering alcoholic you won't understand. If you don't understand then you shouldn't judge me and say I belong to a cult. Also it says in the bible "Judge not lest you be judged".Think about that statement for a while. Who are you to decide or criticize any religion or program that brings a person closer to God? By making statements like that you are displaying ego rather than humility... I would like for you to reply to my e-mail and also submit proof that you are qualified to make statements like this. I have submitted my proof that AA works for me and has worked for many others. So it doesn't matter to me what you call AA. I know a priest who is a member of AA. His comment to others is " I know my religion but I come to AA to learn about God and stay sober" There are many religious leaders i.e. ministers, rabbis and the like that are members of AA only you don't who they are. That's why it's called Alcoholics Anonymous............

Hello again, K9manFL,

It is all fine and well that you enjoy your religion and believe that it helps you to lead a better life. However, you seem to be equating Alcoholics Anonymous with "your religion". A.A. claims that it is not a religion.

I did not accuse you of leading people away from Salvation. I said that is what the cult fanatics accuse people like me of doing when we tell the truth about their cult.

I have been to lots of A.A. meetings, both open and closed. Read the introduction to this web site. I am also a recovering alcoholic, so I do understand. You are trying to use the propaganda and debating trick of Deflect Criticism and Blame By Deligitimizing It, by claiming that I am not a recovering alcoholic so I can't understand Alcoholics Anonymous. I most assuredly do understand A.A. very well. I simply do not agree with Dr. Frank Buchman's bizarre cult religion, or with Bill Wilson's crazy ravings, or with the grossly exaggerated A.A. claims of success.

I am sure that you have seen a few sober old-timers at your A.A. meetings. I am equally sure that you are not counting a much, much larger number of A.A. failures who are not sober and who did not benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous, and so they don't come back any more.

Your story about the priest who had to go to A.A. to learn about God is pure Buchmanism. That's what they were all saying back in 1934:

"Religion never meant anything" that is what the Groupers say almost invariably.
Saints Run Mad; A Criticism of the "Oxford" Group Movement, Marjorie Harrison (1934), page 124.

Some admit that they have had a religious teaching as children, but that "it never meant anything"; others that they have had no teaching at all and so, of course, religion for them, too, "never meant anything". Others say that they have practiced religion to the extent of trying to do their best and going to church, but, once again, "it never meant anything".
Saints Run Mad; A Criticism of the "Oxford" Group Movement, Marjorie Harrison (1934), page 124.

And then A.A., which was of course began life as just a branch of Buchman's Oxford Group cult, simply copied that jabber:

I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 341.

The very idea that a Catholic priest has to go to Alcoholics Anonymous to really learn about God is religious bigotry at its finest — "A.A. is better than the ordinary religions, which don't actually do a very good job of teaching people about God." And the priest who was saying that stuff to you is of course a good example of a well-indoctrinated cult member. He was actually saying that A.A. is better than the Catholic Church for learning about God. I wonder what his Bishop would have to say about that...

And then you use that line about "Judge not lest ye be so judged."
Actually, we do have to judge some things at times. Jesus was being extremely judgemental when he entered the temple and saw the money-changers cheating people. Jesus said,

"It is written in the scriptures that God said,
'My temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.'
But you have made it into a hideout for thieves!"

And then Jesus started swinging a whip and drove the money-changers from the temple. (Mark 11:15. Also see Matthew 21:12 and Luke 19:45.) He was being just a litte bit judgemental there, wasn't He?

The idea that you must always be nice and meek and polite and namby-pamby and never judge when confronting evil and wrong-doing is just another superstition. (Notice how it helps Evil.)

Alcoholics Anonymous is an evil that I choose to confront.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "WHEN a pretension to free the world from evil ends only in a new proof
**   of the danger of a fanatic to the commonweal, then it is not to be
**   marveled at that a distrust is aroused in the observer which makes
**   sympathy impossible."  ==  Sigmund Freud

Date: Sat, April 28, 2007 9:03 pm     (answered 4 May 2007)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Wilson will help cure Alcohoism

Hello my gray-bearded acid loving hippie friend. *S*

In the long run, Bill Wison's hokey, cultish, religious program will cure alcoholism. In society, it takes egoticical quacks like Wison to move things foward.

Hi again Tom,

Alas, there is zero evidence that Bill Wilson's hokum will help alcoholics. None at all. The real evidence says that A.A. kills more alcoholics than it helps. You did read "The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment", didn't you? A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who just loves A.A. and wanted to show that it works, ended up with these results from his first 100 A.A.-treated alcoholics: 5 sober, 29 dead, 66 still drinking. Dr. Vaillant recognized that 5 out of a hundred sober is the success rate of people who quit on their own, without any help at all. So five minus five yielded zero, the real A.A. success rate. But the death rate was the highest of any kind of "treatment" or "help" for alcoholics that Dr. Vaillant studied.

Dr. Vaillant tried to minimize the damage to A.A. by declaring ("The Doctor's Dilemma", 1980, p 18.), "The best that can be said for our exciting treatment is that we are certainly not interfering with the normal recovery process." But the evidence is that A.A. really was "interfering" — it was raising the death rate.

In forced treatment, which I attended, piss samples were taken on occasion. If only they would require blood samples. Then more actual medical research could be taken into account for a medical condition I call "alcohol addiction".

The fact that you were pressured into quitting drinking by having urinalysis tests done on you has nothing to do with the effectivenss of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. In the Big Book, Bill Wilson never mentioned enforced urinalysis as a way to quit drinking.

The insurance costs, in the future, for hocus-pocus treatment facilities, will reach an unaffordable high point and the medical profession will step in and take over producing a medication for this ailment.

So, in the long run Bill Wilson will have been instrumental in the cure of this nightmare medical condition.

Nonsense. Bill Wilson just foisted a pack of Oxford Group cult religion on some sick people. It has not helped the situation. It has wasted peoples' time and money and kept them from getting something better.

As far as Bill Wilson being a lying manipulator and pussy chaser........

Yes, ...? Your point is...?

Take care old hippie *LOL*

Tom H.

PS. What got me sober in AA (which I no longer attend) was having somewhere to go, and ignore the doctrine, and concentrate on chasing skirt. The wonderful turnover of slipping female members in AA kept me busy enough to stay sober, long enough, until I had a moment of clarity.

While that may have been Bill Wilson's method, it isn't the official A.A. method.

And what did it do to the women who were seeking sobriety?

[2nd letter from Tom H.:]

Date: Sun, April 29, 2007 8:56 pm     (answered 4 May 2007)

From: "Tom H."
Subject: The Base Logic Problem

Mr. Orange,

I have read your site for six years. As you probably well know. You and I are about the same age. You are probably a kind man today and have tried to live a kind life over the years. You have been a acid head for part of your life, and a drug addict, and possibly an alcoholic.

That is all true except that technically, I was never a drug addict, not unless you count alcohol and tobacco as drugs. You would think that cocaine or heroin should have hooked me, but no, it was alcohol and tobacco that were the curse of my life, not some illegal drug.

I, too, am a Viet Nam era vet. I believe you were in the Air Force and must have received a discharge above a dishonorable being that you are on some kind of pension. Whether or not your disability comes from a combat related condition (which I highly doubt) I could care less. I feel confident that your pension is of the mental disorder type which I pay for that gives you time to type type type and then type.

Nice try at an ad hominem attack, but untrue. A psychiatrist examined me, and he declared that while I may have some small amount of cognitive impairment (short-term memory loss), I didn't qualify for anything there. No, I got the disability declaration for a lot of little things like having osteoporosis so bad that sometimes the bones in my feet break just from walking up the street.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to just type and type. I actually do have a life beyond this web site. Heck, I'm six months behind in answering some of my email. I wish I did have more time and energy to just type and type.

I have used your site over the years in my now retired professional occupation. I speak with airline pilots like myself who are on the verge of losing their certificates because of alcohol addiction. ( I am even careful of using the term "alcoholic" because it is such a misunderstood and debated term)

I do not shout from the roof tops my praises of Alcoholics Anonymouos at all. Because I only see A.A. as a last desperate step of "recovery" for individuals where nothing else has worked. It matters not that AA is a quack cultish religion and Bill Wilson and his gang were thieves, liars, molesters, manipulators, and complete frauds.

How does it not matter that A.A. is a quack cure that doesn't work? That sounds like minimalization and denial.

I know all of your endlessly repeated arguments, for all of your resentments against AA, which I agree with you. I personally, have to purposely, select parts of your site to use as examples for people that may insist on trying AA and I make sure they are forwarned of what they are getting involved with. But time and time again I am asked for your web site addy and when people explore it they come away thinking you are a person with a lot of time on his hands and quite angry with the entire world. I usually agree with them.

Opinions aren't worth much. Would you care to get specific? Precisely which statements have I made that are inaccurate or untrue? Please cite the page name, and give an exact quotation, and then counter my statements with better facts from good sources. The best sources are formal studies like Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies.

Would you please for the sake of the site, try and remain focused with these simple questions which are at the base of your entire argument.

In simple terms, please explain in as short order as possible : Specifically answer how "AA kills more people than it helps" If you are correct in your answer and hypothosis then the AMA and our government needs to be informed. I dont care about the Moonies or the rest of the cults. I dont care if it is unconstitutional to "condemn" drunks to treatment or any of that debate. I agree with the vast vast majority of your anger and reasoning. I have much more experience than you do in the fellowship of AA in the past. I know well of what you speak. But thats another subject.

I just answered the "A.A. kills" statement above. 5 sober and 29 dead per hundred alcoholics, verified by a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., who also just happens to be a medical doctor and a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also just happens to be someone who spent the better part of 20 years treating alcoholics with Alcoholics Anonymous. Dr. Vaillant found that no other way of treating alcoholics produced such a high death rate as Alcoholics Anonymous did.

Also see these studies done by other doctors:

  1. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and
  2. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness, and
  3. Dr. Walsh found that "free A.A." made later hospitalization more expensive, and
  4. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that having a doctor talk to the patient for just one hour was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.

You imply that the people in AA must just be imagining things in their heads with having "spiritaul awakenings?"

I notice that most cults convince their followers that they are getting "religious experiences" when they are merely deluded. Seeing lights or feeling great feelings of comeradery are not religious experiences. Emotional hype is not a religious experience. Getting excited and energized at a convention is mob psychology, not a religious experience. Convincing oneself that he or she is only feeling "Serenity and Gratitude" is not a religious experience.

You argue the prayer concept with the people who died in 9-11 and in Iraq and "what kind of God would do that?" I know all of those debates well. Yawn......

Yawn all you want. (That's another propaganda and debating technique — just dismiss the argument as worthless and not worth answering, so that you don't have to answer it.) Believing that God goes around deliberately handing out suffering and death is a twisted religious belief. Still, it's common. I ran into it again this morning in The Washington Post, in an article about a disreputable lawyer. He minimized the criticism and legal charges against him with:

"I'm a big boy, I can take it," Sibley says of the criticism so many have leveled at him. "The Lord never gives you more than you can carry. I've got big shoulders."

I admire your attempts to educate people from the deceptions of AA. But please please explain simply to me where AA is KILLING people. I know well of the past AA tactics of telling members to not take medications etc. That is in the past.

No it isn't in the past. That is another kind of minimization and denial — just claim that the problems are all ancient history. The "no medications" instructions are still happening now. Check out:

  1. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm? fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=10139602
    About halfways down the page, there is a letter from "THE FALL OF MIDTOWN. AKA: THE Q. GROUP", that says:

    Jan 10 2007 12:39P
    "As a measure of validity here are some key names of the midtown Hierarchy: Mike Q, jack, John, Chris Dugan, Joe Snider, Arno Sewall, Kevin, Mike(pizza),...

    I was a member of Mid town from 1999 to 2004...."

    It's worth reading.
    Information on sexual exploitation and financial mismanagement.
    Also, sponsors tell newcomers to stop taking their doctor-prescribed psychiatric medications.

  2. And then more: Newsweek magazine published an article:
    == A 15-year-old girl is told to cut off all communications with people outside of A.A., and stop taking medications for a bipolar disorder, and is encouraged to have sex with MUCH older A.A. men.
    And that's just the start of the article.
    A therapist says: "We're all saying, 'Go to AA, go to AA,' and we may be sending people into this terrible situation and not realizing it."
    Worse of all, the police say that they can't find anything wrong with it.

  3. Also check out this letter and my answer which describes a study of the A.A. "no medications" problem.

  4. I have personal experience in this matter. A friend of mine who needs Paxil to keep his head together went to Dual Recovery Anonymous and his sponsor and the other old-timers told him not to take the doctor-prescribed medications, to just let the 12 Steps heal him.

Please do NOT attempt to convince me with your endless writings about "AA" telling people that AA is the only way or you will die. Are you saying that the suggestions (and downright cultish declarations made my many members) KILL these poor helpless lambs but telling them they are powerless ? (that these people cannot leave AA meetings or the cult?)

The "A.A. is the only way" rap certainly discourages people from seeking something else that may help them more. It's a stretch to claim that that does not ever kill people.

If you can show me real facts and proof I would back you (with the help of others) financially to stop the murdering and killing that AA does. Your pronouncements of "AA kills more people than it helps" is the foundation of everything I read on this site. Everything else I could care less about. I dont care what cults claim and that includes the cult of AA.

Okay, I already showed you, above.

I personally beleive your anger goes way beyond AA my friend. You have been protesting life your whole life *LOL* But then again so have I.

Tom H.


I too, have many friends in the past who have died of booze and that AA did not work for. Booze killed them ! Not AA. The fact, that there presently is no cure for alcoholism with any form of therapy or group still today is just a ugly reality. I hope this doesnt turn into one of your endlessy long winded philosophical lectures. Okay ?

No Tom, I am not protesting against my life. I am just laying out the facts about a national problem.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Fri, May 4, 2007 4:33 pm     (answered 7 May 2007)
From: "Tom H."

Hello again Mr. Orange,

I must get busy now alerting all the medical doctors and psychologists and Priests and Rabbi's and mental health councelors of your discovery that Alcoholics Anonymous "KILLS" people. Those dummies just don't know the "facts."

Hi again, Tom,

Actually, a lot of them don't want to know. They've already heard it, and they go out of their way to avoid hearing it. The A.M.A. had a committee made up of two A.A. front groups write the definition of "alcoholism" for them. They don't want to ever consider the fact that they have been wrong for so many years, and that they declared that "alcoholism is an illness" without having a definition of alcoholism for 36 years.

A rare few priests and ministers do notice that the A.A. religious dogma is heretical, but most just ignore it and imagine that anything that gets the drunkards praying must be a good thing.

Dr. George Vaillant will be the first I shall inform of "his" findings. So that sneaky old devil George V. is promoting Alcoholics Anonymous and knowing he is killing them. Or maybe being that he is a professor of Psychology at Harvard (where I attended) has deluded his brain and he must be confused. I need to inform him quickly.

Please do.

There are already books about the dangers of attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings written by both women and men. Taking "facts" out of context and being unchallenged by the people in person is silly. (so hold the presses)

What facts out of context? I am very careful not to take things out of context, or misquote things.

Your simple claims you make when attempting to make your points about AA members of, " well, the AA members Orange knew and talked with," said thus and so-and-so are sophmoric and one sided. It's called "cherry picking" and you know it.

While it's true that I haven't talked to all of the A.A. members in the world, it is valid to talk about the experiences I have seen with my own eyes and ears — things like friends getting told not to take their doctor-prescribed psychiatric medications. Wherever possible, I try to get larger samples, like properly-done studies. But they are not always available. In the end, I have to talk about something.

Notice that there is a huge difference between these things:

  1. Joe went to a 12-Step meeting and was told by his sponsor and other old-timers to stop taking his psychiatric medications.
  2. Fred says that practicing the 12 Steps gives him "spiritual experiences".
  3. Mary says that she is sure that the 12 Steps made her quit drinking.

The first item is a fact. The second and third items are subjective impressions.

That's why I am not even slightly impressed when A.A. members write to me and tell me how wonderful they think A.A. is, because the meetings make them feel so spiritual, or how the 12 Steps relieve them from guilt, or how the 12 Steps make people quit drinking. The hard evidence says that the 12 Steps do not work to make people quit drinking.

Also notice that I went out of my way to find a good study about the "no medications" problem, so that I was not just using proof by anecdote, or just cherry-picking.

Now do you have a well-done study of A.A. that shows that A.A. sponsors do not tell newcomers not to take their medications?

The absense of professionals responding to your site (including the ones you are "quoting") speaks volumes. The intelligent reader of your invisable podium comes to realize quickly that you would like to stop all cults from existing. That would be an entire debate initself trying to determine what a cult is. So you produce your own definition unchallenged.
(Mr. X still hasnt responded *LOL*)

Actually, I do occasionally have professionals respond. Although the A.A. hate mail really does outnumber the professionals.

All these professionals out there that recomend their patients to AA (especially when the insurance money runs out) need to be informed of your "findings." Think this through Mr. Orange. If AA did nothing else but kept toxic people from driving drunk and beating their kids for ONE night, the sheer numbers of people per year, attending meetings, that would benefit would be staggering.

But since we are not seeing the "staggering benefits", A.A. must really be doing something wrong. A.A. has had 70 years to fix the problem, and things have just gotten worse, not better, while A.A. has dominated the alcoholism treatment field.

I truely beleive that if you had the power to illegalize Alcoholics Anonymous you would. Along with organized religions (except the ones YOU chose to remain in business) and probably the American government. (or at least the party of your choice)

Wrong. I would illegalize:

  1. Charging health insurance for quack medicine and cult religion.
  2. Sentencing people to the meetings or services of a cult religion.
  3. Using city, state, or federal offices and tax dollars to promote any cult, like The Church of Scientology, or the Moonies' Unification Church, or Alcoholics Anonymous.

Like I have said many times, I don't care if some burned-out old alcoholics want to gather in church basements and convince each other that they are God's Chosen People. They are just pathetic. They don't matter. What matters is that sick people are getting fed quackery when they need something more true and honest, and less lethal.

I hope you remain anonymous because society likes debates face to face with professionals that will put thier real names and reputations on the line. Keep your head down Mr. Orange and enjoy your online "celebrity."

And as I mentioned in previous letters. I think you are probably a kind person and it would be fun to sit and rap and toss thoughts around. I used to do that with guys like you in the service. We would get fried on LSD and try and understand why the world just couldn't see things our way. You would be fun. Not to mention that it was always guys like you that knew where to score the really good dope.

Your friend,

Tom H.

Oh well, Have a nice day anyway.

You have a good day too, Tom.

Date: Fri, May 4, 2007 4:50 pm     (answered 7 May 2007)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Quick note

This isnt for the web page but a personal note to you from me. Without responders like myself your letters part of your site gets really old and is the same thing over and over. Some humor is good and debate (that is thought out) will keep peeps checking back in.

It may be a personal note, but since there is nothing personal (about you) in it, I'll go ahead and include it with the others. It is informative.

You should lighten up and realize I was being funny about chasing slipping chicks to get sober. Well, acatually I did chase chicks but I stunk of shit and piss so bad that they kind of stayed away from me.

Actually, you had me fooled. Some guys really do use A.A. as a meat market. Have you been watching the flap over the Washington, DC "Midtown Group", and the Phoenix, AZ, Young Peoples' A.A.?

Newsweek magazine just published an article about the Midtown Group. See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18368218/site/newsweek/ where MSNBC has reprinted the article

I will see if I can get some professionals to write to you and debate.

Take care


And by the way ( I will include this concept in another online public letter later) WHY did you wait until you were 54 to get sober. If you answer me with "tired of being sick and tired" I will scream !!

I think one of two things. ONE : you hit the street and your teeth were falling out of your head and you freaked. TWO : Your chemical body changed and allowed you to sober.

I dont think sobriety really has much to do with choice dude. And your concept of peeps in AA or anywhere else "not really wanting to get sober" doenst hold water with this guy. Very mysterious indeed

Well, scream all you want, but the truth really is that when the sickness mounted and I was so sick and tired that I believed the doctor when he told me to quit drinking or I would die, then I was really ready to quit drinking. I got sick and tired of being so sick and tired.

I had lost my teeth ten years earlier. That had nothing to do with quitting drinking. Seeing that I was loosing everything else, including my short-term memory, had a lot to do with it.

Date: Sun, May 6, 2007 11:58 pm     (answered 7 May 2007)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: I have a Request

I find it difficult to beleive that Prof. Vaillant is ignoring facts and allowing AA memeber to die because he really wants to build a larger membership to his cult.

I'm open to any other explanation. How do you reconcile his statement that A.A. kills more alcoholics than any other way of treating alcoholism with his statements that A.A. is wonderful and more alcoholics should be forced into it for their own good, or for their "social rehabilitation"?

May I write to him being that I am alumni with Harvard and see if I could get him to read your assessments ?

Please do.

I would love to read his reply concerning your thesis. And would you post his answers ?


Thanks my friend

Tom H.

Tom, especially ask about these quotes:

"Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
== Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.

The success of Alcoholics Anonymous — and its reasonable facsimiles which are continuously being rediscovered — probably results from the fact that it conforms so well to the natural healing principles that Frank outlines and with Frank's general prescription for therapeutic group processes.
== Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.

Dr. Vaillant clearly declared that A.A. was a failure with no more recoveries than no treatment at all, and that it had an appalling death rate, the highest of any method of treating alcoholism that he studied, and then he switched to raving about the "success of Alcoholics Anonymous and its reasonable facsimiles". What success?

...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over. ...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper separation between church and state.
== A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

Finally, and most important, it must be remembered that abstinence is a means, not an end. It is a puritanical goal that removes but does not replace. It is justifiable as a treatment goal only if moderate drinking is not a viable alternative and only if sight is not lost of the real goal — social rehabilitation. Even in Alcoholics Anonymous, the term 'sobriety' has the far broader, more platonic meaning of serenity and maturity. The perjorative term 'dry' is reserved for individuals who are abstinent from alcohol but otherwise remain unchanged from their former alcohol-abusing selves. The lesson of this chapter is not that abstinence is good, but that uncontrolled, symptomatic abuse of alcohol is painful.
== A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 277.

It would appear that Vaillant's "real goal" is the "social rehabilitation" of alcoholics, not to get them to quit drinking. Apparently Dr. Vaillant feels that getting people confessing their sins in a Buchmanite cult religion accomplishes that goal.

Now perhaps Dr. Vaillant has some other explanation. I would love to hear it, and will print whatever he says.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**  give, not out of demanding that I receive." Serving humanity
**  is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly, lovingly,
**  spiritually giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**  No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**  while you hand it out, it's still cyanide koolaid.

Date: Mon, May 7, 2007 1:10 pm     (answered 10 May 2007)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Will Get Right On It

Hello Orange,

Thanks for all the replies. I think I may be able to get connected to our Prof. at Harvard. If you will notice, my e-mails to you are with both my wife and my name. Obvioulsy, I trust you. I may not agree with some of your personal assessments concerning what you see as the average AA meeting or existing members attitudes or practices.

You're different than me, as you use the example of your physican informing you that you were alcoholic and should quit drinking or you would die. I didn't need a medical doctor to tell me that. I ended up being a 24/7 round the clock alcoholic for many, many years. I was luckier than you as my drinking progressed eariler and I had money and was able to get out of my profession soon enough to completely hide it.

Hi again, Tom,

Let me clarify that. I knew that I was sick, even without a doctor telling me. During that last year of drinking, the summer of 2000, I would wake up so sick and hung-over that a little voice in my head would ask, "How long do you think you can keep on doing this? How long can you be so chronically sick before you just die?" I guessed that I had 3 years left. I figured that the situation was hopeless, and that I might as well just stay stoned and kill my pain until the bitter end.

That's why I was willing to believe my doctor when he told me that I was going to die. I already knew that.

The amazing part of it is why I just suddenly changed my mind and decided to live, and decided to fight for my life. I have no explanation for that sudden change in attitude.

I can only guess that it was a long time coming, and that it took a certain accumulation of experiences to get to the magic moment.

My wife and I also had money (from both our earnings) Gorgeous neighborhood to live in with a alcoholic passed out on the streets getting picked up for vagrancy. Cops putting on rubber gloves to get me in the car. Lets just say that my personal hygine had something to be desired. I have a spotless law record except for DWI's that came about forcing me to take a "leave of absence" from work. I never would have beleived my bottom was going to be so far down. And I am just typical of a late stage alcoholic. Then I was forced into AA. And got sober. The only thing I can say about AA is that it gave me somewhere to go with other people like myself. No sponser. No big book. No steps.

But then again I went to outlaw AA. Mostly bikers, hookers, dopers, criminals. I got along just fine and was quite well respected. Our group was constantly getting thrown out of our buildings cause of non payments. AA was trying to shut us down for tons of reasons too. What got me sober was having somewhere to go and hang out with other crazies like myself. I went back to flying at 49 years old. No one in the world hated "standard AA" more than this alcoholic.

I was booted out of treatment more than once because I was preaching the Orange tirade before you put down your last drink. I purposely debate with you and have done so over the years. You have NO idea how much I agree with what you write about. Not everything but MOST.

Anyways, soon I will be emailing you hundreds and hundreds of pages of research. (I have a degree in Psych) My wife and I spend a couple of hundred a week in ads in newspapers directing former ( and minimum 5+ year) alcoholics to anonymously email me with tons of information. Dude, your hate mail is chicken feed. *LOL* I have been getting data on where have the drunks gone that used to be in AA ? Are they still sober and why they left AA. I just get a different form of hate mail than you do. I have no intention of doing anything academic with my work but will be sharing it with you and others. Let's see if I can get some going with the Prof. at Harvard.

That sounds very interesting. I'm impressed.

AA obvioulsy has purposely not given out data on their fellowship since its beginning. But that is changing today with people speaking out. Which includes data from treatment centers that they cannot hide from the public. And yes I read about the New York case at thier AA church. Hope you caught Paula Zahns show last Wednesday showing the failure rates at treatment centers. The segment ended with her showing a herion addict receiveing medication via an IV and the shows content was informing the public that this is a MEDICAL problem and not a spiritual problem.

You have a nice day and keep your head down my friend. There are many out there that would love to knock your head off. I have always tried to warn you to keep it down to a mild roar. But you just can't. But then again, you went and lived up in the trees. I have always hoped that you were bullshitting when you shared you had taken acid 200 times but when I finally saw your picture on your site it made me think, "Yep the Orange has dropped 200 times." *LOL*

Yes, really 200. What is funny is that, at the commune, I once mentioned that number to a friend and he shrugged and said, "Heck, I did it 600 times." Apparently I was a bit of a conservative.

What is equally funny is that that same friend went back to college, studied medicine, and is now a high-grade registered nurse and emergency medical technician, and he is quite good at it, and doesn't do drugs or smoke or drink or anything any more.

So it goes.

Take care my friend.

Tom H.

Okay Tom,

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Although easily mistaken for candy, holly is quite poisonous."
**     "Although easily mistaken for real moral religions,
**          cults are quite poisonous."

Date: Thu, May 3, 2007 6:26 pm     (answered 10 May 2007)
From: "David P."

Your work is well thought out and well organized. I truly do love to read. I began to read my first time in treatment some years ago. I really have enjoyed looking over your pages and although I do not agree with your point-of-view, I do applaud you for the professionalism used in presenting the material. I will tell you that I am a member of AA. If I may be so bold, I would like to point out to you the one thing that stood out in my mind as I was reading:

"My doctor said it this way, "Alcoholics have great control over their sobriety. They can stay sober for years at a time. They just don't have any control over their drinking. Their drinking will spin out of control very rapidly."

"That answered a lot of questions for me, because I had always had a problem with the A.A. "powerless over alcohol" confession. I'm not powerless — I can stay sober for years at a time, and have done so before, and am doing it again. I only have a problem with alcohol when it is inside of me. Then I go non-linear and try to drink myself into the astral plane."

Sounds like to me you might not be an alcoholic of the "hopeless variety"

'Moderate drinkers have little trouble giving up liquor entirely if they have good reason for it. They can take it or leave it alone. Then we have the certain type of hard drinker. He may have the habit badly enough to impair him physically or mentally. It may cause him to die a few years before his time. If a sufficently strong reason — ill health, falling in love, change of enviroment, or the warning of a doctor — becomes operative, this man can also stop or moderate, although he may find it difficult and troublesome and may need medical attention.'
pgs 20-21 "Alcoholics Anonymous"

Since you may not be an alcoholic, the answers to your problems may be found elsewhere. I tell you I have tried many ways to quit and simply cannot. I don't believe that AA is a cult.

Hello David,

Thanks for the compliments, and thanks for the letter. That's really something else.

About 19 years ago, I quit drinking because my ex-wife wouldn't send me my son for the summer unless I promised to quit drinking for the summer. I did. 48 hours without alcohol and I went into DTs. It was intense. Sort of like being electrocuted, tripping on LSD, and going through drug withdrawal all at the same time. I was shaking so bad that I couldn't even crawl across the floor to a telephone and dial a number on a touch-tone phone to call for help, so I had to just lay in bed and ride out the storm. That impressed me enough to stay sober for 3 years.

Then I was at a friend's birthday party, and thought that I could handle just one beer, after 3 years of perfect no-cheating-at-all sobriety. So I had a beer. That tasted so good that I had another and another. That was it. My goose was cooked. I was readdicted. I "went out" for 9 years.

I descended into a private Hell, lost everything, ended up homeless, got to the point where a doctor recognized that I was alcoholic just by looking at the skin on my arms and chest and seeing Spider Angiomas and Palmar Erythema, and he told me that it was very close to the end, and that I was going to die if I didn't quit drinking.

Do you know what those things are? — Spider Angiomas and Palmar Erythema? They are discolorations in the skin that are caused by the capillaries breaking down and leaking blood into the skin. They indicate that things have gotten so bad that the body is breaking down and falling apart. You can see what is happening in the skin, and that just hints at what you cannot see and can only guess at: the breakdown that is also happening everywhere else inside the body, in the intestines and liver and heart and kidneys and brain... No wonder the doctor told me that when you are seeing spiders in the skin that it is very close to the end.

Confronted with such dire information, I decided to not die that way. I made a couple of the smartest decisions in my life, and quit both drinking and smoking. Neither was easy, but I was determined.

So I made the long march back to sobriety and health and happiness, It is 6 1/2 years of sobriety now, and now you tell me that I was not really an alcoholic because you read an untrue stereotype about alcoholics that was written by a certified nutcase who tried to sell cult religion as a quack cure for alcoholism 70 years ago...?

All that Bill Wilson was doing there was using scare tactics to try to con alcoholics into joining his cult and buying his book: "You had better join my cult, quick, before you die."

"...many are doomed who never realize their predicament."
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 92.

"... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.     ...
"At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else."
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, page 44.

But then Wilson had to explain away all of the cases of alcoholics who successfully quit drinking without joining Bill's cult, or doing his Twelve Steps to Buchmanism. They proved that alcoholics are not powerless over alcohol, and don't have to join a cult religion to quit drinking. So Wilson rationalized that they weren't "real alcoholics". Wilson was just using The Real Scotsman Logical Fallacy, trying to dismiss those inconvenient successful do-it-yourself people as irrelevant.

I notice that you quoted Bill Wilson as if he was a real authority on alcoholism, which he was not, while you dismissed the words of a real medical doctor who very much knew what he was talking about as "just one man's opinion". That is the propaganda trick of Escape via Relativism — dismiss facts that you do not like as "just one man's opinion", as if all opinions had equal merit. I know that my doctor was a lot more knowledgeable and realistic about alcoholism than was Bill Wilson. Heck, my doctor was even sane.

Then you finished your letter with just an unsupported opinion of your own, based on no facts: "I don't believe that AA is a cult."
Well of course not; you are a true believer member of it. Cult members almost never believe that they are in a cult. They would quit it if they came to that realization.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

By the way, you imply in your letter that you have not quit drinking yet. So, apparently, you made some kind of effort to quit drinking several times — you sort of decided to quit drinking, but then you decided not to really quit after all, because you'd rather have a drink. That does not mean that you cannot quit drinking. That just means that you haven't done it right, yet.

First off, see a doctor — a doctor who is really good at addiction medicine. Perhaps you are suffering from some underlying mental or physical disorders that drive you to compulsively drink in an attempt to fix things. That is important. Please do not dismiss all doctors as merely being "one man's opinion".

Then, of course I have to suggest the alternatives to 12-Step quackery, like SMART. See the entire list here.

And we were talking about what works in a previous letter, here. Also see this list of "what works", here.

Good luck and take care of yourself.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, May 7, 2007 12:37 pm     (answered 10 May 2007)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Newsweek.com on MSNBC Article: A Struggle Inside AA

A Struggle Inside AA Recovering alcoholics say a Washington, D.C., group has hijacked the 12-step program's name.

Hi again, John,

Hello again and thanks for the tip.

Oh yeh, I've been following the Midtown group for a while now. Look here.

Still, I object to the phrase that the Newsweek reporter used: The Midtown Group allegedly "hijacked the 12-step program's name." No, they REALLY ARE a part of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Newsweek reporter was being far too easy on Alcoholics Anonymous.

It's a common stunt — cherry-picking — to claim that all of the good things that some A.A. members do are "the real A.A.", while the bad things that they do are not "the real A.A.". My opinion is that it is ALL the real A.A. — the good, the bad, and the ugly — it's all what people really get when the judge or counselor or "therapist" sends them to Alcoholics Anonymous.

And that is one of the big problems with Alcoholics Anonymous: there is no quality control. Any kind of religious fanatics or sexual predators can set up an A.A. group and start preaching to the beginners, and there is no board of examiners to certify them as teaching the right stuff. Heck, most of the A.A. dogma is not "the right stuff", or even valid and true medical advice.

Likewise, there is no oversight of sponsors. Any kind of creep, any sick cocaine-snorting child molester, can declare himself a sponsor and start spouting "words of wisdom" to the newcomers. A sponsor can do almost anything and there is no oversight process or certification to determine whether he is doing a good job of it, or is even qualified to speak as an authority on anything.

And that's really what you can get at Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is doing it,
**   and right is right, even if nobody is doing it."
**     ==  Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Date: Sat, May 5, 2007 7:01 pm     (answered 10 May 2007)
From: "tela K."
Subject: you have the same argument over and over...

....and over.

I have read nearly 100 or so letters sent to you.It is pretty obvious that you only have limited artillery. No matter what point someone makes about AA being a cult, you have the same answer over,and over. Like when you are called crazy for calling AA crazy your reply is :" don't argue the facts (because you can't); just launch a personal attack on the critic — aka Ad Hominem attack".That is all you have.

Hello Tela,

The reason you keep hearing that challenge to ad hominem attacks is because A.A. boosters keep doing it. As you say, they keep giving "the same answer, over and over".

Or another one would be, in regards to AA working: "Alas, there is zero evidence that Bill Wilson's hokum will help alcoholics. None at all. The real evidence says that A.A. kills more alcoholics than it helps. You did read "The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment", didn't you? A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who just loves A.A. and wanted to show that it works". You are basing your facts on one source, on one book(one exceprt).I don't care what his association is with AA. It proves very little, except for a defense for you. It's your only true crutch, with the exception to a handful of other Doctors you list from time to time. But,like always, you will use the classic "Ad Hominem attack" if someone can't provide a link or resource you approve of.

Actually, Tela, Dr. Vaillant's study proves a great deal, for several good reasons.

  1. George E. Vaillant really is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous. He is one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  2. George E. Vaillant is a medical doctor who spent about 20 years treating alcoholics with Alcoholics Anonymous.
  3. Dr. Vaillant loves A.A., and was trying hard to make it look good.
  4. Dr. Vaillant was not a critic of A.A. who was trying to make it look bad, and who might be suspected of fudging the numbers to make A.A. look like a failure.
  5. Dr. Vaillant was forced by the facts — the actual results of 8 years of testing A.A. — to admit that A.A. did not work, that it didn't make the alcoholics get sober, and that it just raised the death rate of the alcoholics.

Of course you object to me repeatedly mentioning Dr. Vaillant's work. It is some of the most damning evidence that there is that proves that A.A. is not all it is cracked up to be.

And the reason that I have to keep mentioning it again and again is because A.A. members go out of their way to ignore it and not get the point and not see the truth.

When I knew for sure you really just took random information, and based it as fact, was when you took advice from a 13yr "old timer" when she stated how AA GSO can shut down meetings.All of a sudden you take the advice and use it as fact just because it came from some lousy AA lady who thought AA was crazy after 13 yrs.No group can be shut down through AA's headquarters'.Period!She told you a half truth.Also known as a lie to support you.It is 100% false.There are 100's of groups that never send a single penny in to their states AA fund that goes to AA GSO.Yeah,GSO is really losing money on AA pamphletes sales,so they better shut them down.Even if these groups send no money and deiced to vote at a state General Assembly,they are welcome to do so.That is "crazy".Right?

You are completely reversing reality there. I was arguing with that person, Pamela D., not taking her statements as fact. She was all over the map, alternately declaring that A.A. was wonderful, and then talking about the horrible cultish meetings that she went to that the AA GSO later shut down.

I also questioned her statement that the GSO could shut down meetings. Didn't you bother to actually read that? I did not quote her as an authority on anything; I guessed that she was not entirely rational.

A few files of letters later, I did mention her and challenge another old-timer to compare his statements with hers. But I was not saying that she was correct. I was just comparing the raps from two different old-timers, both of whom claimed to be authorities on Alcoholics Anonymous, but who said very different things about Alcoholics Anonymous. So which one to believe?

Keep your head clean,and while your at it here are some links.

Hang in there, tela k.

ps. I think my all time favorite thing is when you quote Dr. Brandsma and Dittman from Wikipidiea.You also forgot to mention these were studies done in 1967 and 1979. I mean,damn, you really took the quotes right out of Wikipedia. I know you are a bit older than I. Let me give you a little tip.People don't take people serious who quote wikipedia. That is the High School kids 21st century version of Cliff Notes.

If Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma's study is bad because it is old, then Alcoholics Anonymous is really bad, because it is really old. In fact, Bill Wilson copied all of the A.A. philosophy and doctrines from Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult, which dates from the nineteen-twenties.

You are, of course, trying to use the propaganda trick called Appeal to Novelty — Newness (Argumentum ad Novitatem). Things are not necessarily good because they are new, or bad because they are old.

I didn't even know there was a web page on Wikipedia about Dr. Brandsma. I don't think there is. I just looked for what you were talking about, and all that I found was the page on Alcoholics Anonymous, which contains two sentences about Dr. Brandsma's study. Those two sentences are very similar to mine. They may have been copied from me. If so, that's okay.

My description of Dr. Brandsma's study is a lot more than two sentences long. It is like a whole type-written page long. Obviously, I could not possibly have gotten my information about Dr. Brandsma from that Wikipedia page about A.A., because the information isn't there.

Where were you hallucinating the Wikipedia web page about Dr. Brandsma's study?

Where I got my information is that I went to the original publication. There is a wonderful service that public libraries have that is called "interlibrary loans". That includes two things called WorldCat and ArticleFirst. With ArticleFirst you can request copies of articles from all kinds of obscure and hard-to-find professional journals. I have managed to collect xeroxes of almost every study and article that I cite. It took a few years, but I have quite a collection. I like to ALWAYS go to the original article, because I don't trust other people to quote correctly, or to necessarily get all of the facts right.

In the case of Dr. Brandsma's study, he wrote it up in a book, Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism; A Review and Comparative Study, Jeffrey Brandsma, Ph.D., Maxie Maultsby, Jr., M.D., and Richard J. Welsh, M.S.W.; University Park Press, Baltimore, MD., 1980.; ISBN: 0-8391-1393-5.

I got a copy of the book through the WorldCat interlibrary loan system.

(Oh, by the way, 1980 isn't that long ago. Didn't Bill Wilson write the Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" in 1938 and 1939?)

The situation with the study by Dr. Keith Ditman is the same. There is one sentence about his study on the Wikipedia web page about Alcoholics Anonymous. Period. But I have a lot more information than that, here, in my web page about The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment. That's because I used the ArticleFirst system to get a xerox of the original article. Again, it is possible that the authors of the Wikipedia web page copied information from me, but I couldn't have gotten my information from them, because it isn't there.

But a fascinating fact that is on the Wikipedia, that I didn't know until I did this search, is that Alan Watts took LSD with Dr. Keith S. Ditman, back in the early days of LSD research, and that Dr. Keith Ditman was studying LSD as a possible treatment for alcoholism. (See the bibliography of this web page. What a small world it is after all.)

Maclean, J.R.; Macdonald, D.C.; Ogden, F.; Wilby, E., "LSD-25 and mescaline as therapeutic adjuvants." In: Abramson, H., Ed., The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, Bobbs-Merrill: New York, 1967, pp. 407-426; Ditman, K.S.; Bailey, J.J., "Evaluating LSD as a psychotherapeutic agent," pp.74-80; Hoffer, A., "A program for the treatment of alcoholism: LSD, malvaria, and nicotinic acid," pp. 353-402.

if you want to play fair...here are some "new" links as well as older ones.And the list goes on.I just don't have the time like you too cut and paste because I have a life that is fullfilling beyond your wildest dreams.I am sorry for your medical conditions though.I wish and pray for the best for you.I really mean that.Pain is no fun no matter how it hits you. Hey, post some pic of you. We would love to see the reall Agent "I fly rainbow colors on my wesbite" Orange. ;-) hmm,I womdor what those colors mean?We can only speculate. <----Is that anoher ad Homonim attack? Silly me!

Thanks for these links. Now you are showing why I have to repeatedly bring up the studies by people like Doctors Brandsma, Walsh, Vaillant, Orford and Edwards, and Ditman. That small set of studies is the only valid studies of the effectiveness of A.A. that have ever been done. The other "studies" are phony hack jobs on the numbers. All five of the so-called studies that you list below are such pieces of propaganda.

  1. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=52661

    The title is, "Alcoholics Anonymous Membership May Decrease Alcohol-related Homicides". That is the propaganda trick called Sly Suggestions. Don't declare real facts, just suggest that something might be true. (That way you aren't a liar when it all turns out to be false.)

    They say that they studied the Canadian statistics on alcohol-related homicides, and found that the more alcohol that people drink, the more likely they are to be involved in homicides. That is a correlation that I can believe. Alcohol is a bad drug.

    But then the so-called "researchers" went off on a crazy tangent. They said that they got information from the A.A. headquarters. What information? They didn't even say. The A.A. headquarters in Canada does not even keep a list of the names of members, never mind a list of the murders that A.A. members commit.

    Then the authors jumped to the illogical conclusion that A.A. participation MAY reduce homicides, without having shown that A.A. reduced drinking. They wrote: "...participation in AA and alcohol treatment may be exerting beneficial effects..."

    May be exerting. Again, that is just the propaganda trick of Sly Suggestions — just suggest that something is true, without supplying any real evidence that it is true.

    That whole paper is what you call bullshit propaganda.

  2. http://www.news-medical.net/?id=13754

    This is titled, "Combining alcoholics anonymous and treatment works best"

    This is another piece of propaganda from Rudolf Moos. Moos and his collaborator Keith Humphreys seem to be a professional propagandists for the 12-Step quack treatment industry. They crank out huge quantites of faked studies that all try to declare that A.A. works great. We have discussed them before. Look here and here.

    In this study, as usual, there is no control group. I don't think that Moos and Humphreys have ever done a valid Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study in their lives. The patients were not randomly selected for treatment to see whether the treatment actually works.

    As usual, Moos assumes the results that he wants, right at the start: "We know that self-help groups, such as AA, contribute to better alcohol-related and psychosocial outcomes..."

    Then he later comes to the same conclusion.

    That isn't how you do valid medical studies.

    There is also lots of Confusion of Correlation and Causation. It is obvious that the people who go to A.A. meetings drink less than the people who go to the meetings at the bars, but there is no evidence that A.A. causes any reduction in drinking. The evidence is that people wanting to stay sober is what causes sobriety:

    1. The people who want to drink go to bars.
    2. The people who want to stay sober go someplace else or stay home. A few of them have been fooled into thinking that they have to go to A.A. meetings in order to stay sober, so they go to A.A. meetings.
    3. Darned if the people at A.A. meetings don't drink less than the people in the bars.
    That does not prove or even indicate that A.A. reduces drinking.

    Then they even gloss over the high A.A. drop-out rate, and don't bother to notice that it proves A.A. to be a failure: "As we already knew, drop-out from AA is high."

    And then they Assume Facts Not In Evidence (Petitio Principii) with this statement: "These findings are consistent with previous studies of AA."
    With what other studies? Other phony pieces of deceptive propaganda written by Moos and Humphreys?

    This "article" is just another invalid piece of garbage from the A.A. publicity machine.

    UPDATE: 2013.03.08: The International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction totally discredited the faked Humphries-Moos study that supposedly showed that A.A. works better than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

  3. http://www.healthandage.com/public/news-home/8744/ Study-says-alcohol-addiction-responds-to-the-Alcoholics-Anonymous-12.html

    The title is: "Study says alcohol addiction responds to the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program".

    This article reveals the truth in the first two words: IT SEEMS...

    "It seems that 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous work for believer and skeptics alike."

    You are not getting true facts; you are getting optical illusions. It seems like A.A. works, but it doesn't.

    Then the authors engage in the usual propaganda tricks, like Sly Suggestions and Assume Facts Not In Evidence (Petitio Principii):

          "It works as a 12-step program — the steps being the 'rules' of the system which guide the user away from their dysfunctional relation with drink. The 12-steps involve belief in and surrender to a 'higher' power which the AA people always stress need not be a formal 'God'.
          "So does the 12-step approach work for those who are not religious?"

    Excuse me, but it doesn't work. Where are they getting the idea that "it works"? They are assuming facts not in evidence.

    Then they did not have a randomly-chosen set of patients. They say simply that

          "Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Addiction Program studied a group of 227 alcoholics. Those enrolled in a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous did better than those who did not — regardless of whether they came with religious or spiritual beliefs or were skeptics..."

    Again, we see that the people who dropped out of the cult religion and returned to drinking did in fact drink more than the people who had not relapsed yet. But their sobriety was not caused by any involvement with A.A. or any religious program. It's a simple matter of who has relapsed and who hasn't. When people relapse, they stop wasting their time on Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  4. http://ncpc.typepad.com/prevention_works_blog/2006/12/can_alcoholics_.html

    Again, they start with Sly Suggestions. The title is: "Can Alcoholics Anonymous Prevent Murder?"

    Then they engage in one of the more ridiculous statistical manipulations I've seen: "The researchers found that for every one person who joined AA, the murder rate declined between .03 and .05 percent."

    They did not say that the people who joined A.A. committed fewer murders. They can't, because again, nobody keeps records of the names of the A.A. members and how many murders they commit.

    So the authors are trying to fudge some vague relationship from two facts:

    1. Some people join Alcoholics Anonymous in Canada.
    2. Some people commit murders in Canada.

    Then they try to find some years where the A.A. membership went up and the murder rate went down, and they try to infer a connection between the two.

    But what about the years where people joined A.A. and the murder rate went up?

    That is the logical fallacy called Confusion of Correlation and Causation. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn't mean that one caused the other.

    There is zero evidence that people joining Alcoholics Anonymous reduces the murder rate. That article is bullshit.

  5. http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1274&a=2272&cid=1289&l=en

    This is the most irrelevant article that you cited. The title is, "Doctors and addicts — alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous inform medical students".

    This article does not even say that A.A. did anything good. It just says that some A.A. and N.A. members went and taught 12-Step misinformation and quackery to some medical students. Proving, once again, that A.A. is a program of promotion, not attraction, just like Tradition Eleven says. (Or does it?)

You see, Tela, not a single one of those things was a real test to see whether A.A. actually works, and reduces the drinking of a bunch of alcoholics. I described how you do a valid Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study here. That is the kind of medical test that real doctors or the FDA give to medicines or treatments to see whether they work properly and heal the patients. And that is what Doctors Brandsma, Ditman, and Walsh did, which is why I keep mentioning them. Almost nobody else did it right.

You know, all of that A.A.-promoting propaganda might be entertaining, a sort of Divine Comedy Of Errors, if it weren't for the fact that a lot of sick people are getting cult religion dogma and quackery instead of real help for a very serious, often fatal, illness. That where Alcoholics Anonymous and its propaganda machine stop being funny. That's where A.A. starts doing harm to people.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
**  its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
**  blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
**    ==   D. James

[2nd letter from Tela:]

Date: Tue, May 15, 2007 6:13 am     (answered 28 May 2007)
From: "tela K."
Subject: Wikipedia ;-) I'm not hallucinating Orangie ;-)

I'm not bashing you again(see my last email yesterday). But I thought I would mention and quote the Wiki page since you thought I was "hallucinating" it ;-). It just seemed a lot like your exact quotes. That was all I was saying. It is in the section on Alcoholics Anonymous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholics_Anonymous

[edit] AA's critics
There are many studies available that describe negative results from attending AA. Ditman et al. (1967) found a correlation between participation in AA and an increase in the alcoholics' rate of multiple arrests for public drunkenness.[50] Brandsma et al. (1979) found a correlation between AA and an increased rate of binge drinking. After several months of participating in AA, the alcoholics in AA were doing five times as much binge drinking as a control group that got no treatment at all, and nine times as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Brandsma argues that teaching people that they are alcoholics who are powerless over alcohol becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy[51]

Hello again, Tela,

Ah, okay, so you accused me of poor research methods and copying Wikipedia without having actually bothered to read what I wrote about the research projects of Doctors Brandsma and Ditman.

Is this saying mentioned anywhere on your site? "The doors of AA are always open,those who enter are free to stay,those who stay,stay sober." Most meetings in my area end that way.

It doesn't matter how nice their sayings are, or whether the doors are always open to us. The doors of Scientology and the Moonies are also always open to us, too. They too are willing to take our lives, our minds, and our souls, any time.

The issue that really matters is whether Alcoholics Anonymous does more harm than good. The evidence says that A.A. kills more than it saves.

I also did not notice this:"Let's close the meeting with a moment of silince,followed by the Lords prayer,or prayer of your choice in silence."...maybe this is a southern thing.

So what? Do you think that closing the meeting with a prayer makes it a good organization? You've got to be kidding. (And it isn't just a Southern thing. They do it at every meeting I've ever attended.)

And please don't tell me that you haven't seen a sexual predator make a bee-line for the new female attendee immediately after that prayer ends...

Do you know what the word "hypocrisy" means? It comes from the Bible, and describes the behavior of a religious sect that was named "Hypocrites". Jesus had a few caustic comments about them and their behavior.

Jesus also had a few comments about the people who pray standing on the streetcorners, or standing in synagogs... Wasn't it something about "when you pray, go lock yourself in a closet and pray alone"?

Also,most groups that have the "think think think" sign,turn it upside down before the meeting and wait for newcomers to fix it so they can correct them and explain how the sign made them think.I thought you would like that one.

That is actually another good example of what is wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous. That cute little trick shows several of the standard cult characteristics:

The "fear" is the lesson that if you do something as simple as fix an upside-down sign, you are doing something wrong, breaking some unwritten rule. You never know what you can do right.

have a nice day Orange
shine, Tela

You have a good day too, Tela.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  No matter what time you start out, you will always be too late
**  to catch the previous bus or train.

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 11 February 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters83.html

Copyright © 2016, A. Orange