Uncensored Posts to Rick Ross Forum
by A. Orange and others

Over at the Rick Ross web site, there has been an on-going debate about whether A.A. is a cult. James G. emailed me and told me about it, so I went and took a look. Rick Ross the moderator, was defending A.A., and declaring that it was not a cult — that is was just a nice organization that had helped many people. His exact words were: "It seems to me that AA has helped many people and doesn't hurt anyone intentionally."

I saw such obviously wrong statements being made that I just had to jump in. After a few posts, Rick Ross started deleting my messages, especially when I questioned his credentials and knowledge of A.A., and pointed out that he had the same number of degrees and certifications as I have == none. But I have at least attended lots of A.A. meetings, and have been through the 12-Step "treatment" mill.

And then I noticed that Rick Ross banned a poster named Barabara who was doing a good job of criticizing A.A.. And some of James G.'s posts are missing too.

That is not a debate. I don't know what you call it. Maybe the Russian version of "Pravda" ("truth").

That is not a fair and honest debate. I am an American, and I believe in Freedom of Speech. I believe in the Free Marketplace of Ideas, where you allow everybody to go to the public square and get up on their soap box and say their piece. And the crowd, in turn, is free to kibbitz and criticize and make rebuttals. It's both great entertainment and a good way to hash out the issues.

I do not and will not censor my critics, even when they call me stupid, heartless, and a sack of motherfuckers, which several have done.

Here are the deleted posts, and some continuing posts:

Posted: 09-08-2006 12:54 PM

RE: Rick Ross wrote:
'You failed again to meet the three simple criteria Lifton uses to define a "cult."'

With all due respect and admiration for Dr. Robert J. Lifton, that is far too simplistic of a definition of a cult There is much more to a cult than just three characteristics.

1. AA has never had a totalitarian leader like L. Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones or Rev. Moon. Bill Wilson did not occupy such a position and no one ever has.

I beg to differ. Bill Wilson was the worshipped guru who exiled the dissenters to an alcoholic death. Both his second book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", and the "Big Book" tell stories of ostracizing the nonbelievers and praying that they would relapse, and then abandoning them to their deaths when they did relapse. Bill Wilson did not tolerate dissent or anyone criticizing him.

Bill Wilson also stole all of the A.A. money and the copyright of the Big Book, and set himself up with a life of comfort, and never worked a straight job again. And then he stole all of the credit and the glory, while telling everyone else to be anonymous and quit being so selfish, and to work unselfishly with no thought of the profit motive. And then Bill used the pretty women who came to A.A. as his stable of mistresses, and used the A.A. headquarters to give them employment.

Then he declared that he wasn't really the leader. To create an appearance of noble self-sacrifice, he signed over leadership of A.A. to a Board of Trustees, whom he thought would rubber-stamp his dictates. He was wrong. They voted their consciences. So then Bill Wilson constantly fought with the Trustees whenever they wouldn't do what he wished, like pay his mistresses for him.

Dr. Bob was such a crazy nutcase that he demanded that the alcoholics whom he hospitalized in Akron had to get out of bed and "surrender to God" on their knees in front of him before they could go to their first A.A. meeting.

Then Dr. Bob gave his 17-year-old daughter to a constantly relapsing 31-year-old alcoholic, Ernie Galbraith, A.A. number four, in order to break up her romance with a high-school boyfriend.

To this day, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob are considered geniuses and prophets, and their words in the Big Book are sacred scriptures, not to be updated, no matter what new things we learn about alcoholism and recovery.

The whole idea that a cult has to have one totalitarian leader is wrong. There may be such a leader, and usually is, but not always. Back in 1971, I got involved with a crazy cult called "Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism", aka "Soka Gakai". They didn't have any totalitarian leader. In fact, you couldn't even figure out who the top leaders were. There was a local priest who was the leader of the local church, and there was his assistant, and a few other "elders", so there was a clear heirarchy. But above them, it was all a mystery. There were some almost-unmentioned priests in Tokyo who headed the whole thing and lived a comfortable life.

But it was still a crazy cult. They believed that if they just chanted to a printed scroll for whatever they wanted, that they would get it. Every meeting included testimonials of people who just got their wishes granted by the "Gohonzon". And there were all of the usual demands that you devote your whole life to chanting, and recruit more members, and when we get 1/3 of the whole world chanting our special chant, we will have world peace. Don't think; don't try to understand it; just chant.

Oh, and they didn't want your money either. Just your mind and your life.

Likewise, ISKCON, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly known as the "Hari Krishnas", is another cult that lost its leader. Swami Prabhupada was a real creep, but what came next was just as bad. When Swami Prabhupada died, the highest-ranking eleven junior gurus decided to divide up the world between themselves. They declared themselves the "Zone Gurus", and each got a piece of the world to run, with particular attention being paid to who got the most lucrative countries. The USA was such a rich market that it was divided up into many little pieces so that each of the Zone Gurus got a piece of the action. Like one got part of the USA, and England. Another got part of the USA, and Australia, and so on.

So ISKCON was governed by a Governing Board which consisted of those Zone Gurus. There was no one single dictatorial leader any more.

What happened was one of the Zone Gurus got busy dealing heroin, and made his money that way. Another ordered a critic murdered. The hit was carried out. The guy was killed for criticizing the behavior of the Zone Gurus. Other Zone Gurus were just generally objectionable. A few were actually okay people who objected to the immorality of the others, but they were outvoted for a long time.

If a cult simply MUST have one "totalitarian leader", then by that logic, ISKCON stopped being a cult the minute that Prabhupada died. But ISKCON didn't stop being a crazy cult.

2. Indoctrination not "thought reform" (read the link previously posted) is what AA does, Singer makes the distinctions.

The citations of Lifton and Singer are, of course, the propaganda and debating trick of "Appeal to Authorities". But that's okay. I like those two people, and their work on cult psychology.

I have to disagree with Ms. Singer, may she rest in peace. She was a wonderful and perceptive woman, but she was wrong about A.A.. I guess she was never a member of A.A., so she didn't have a lot of experience with it. She didn't know what really goes on in there.

Alcoholics Anonymous practices both indoctrination and "thought reform" as described by Lifton. They openly do all 8 of Lifton's thought-reform practices.

Speaking of which, how many A.A. meetings have you gone to?
Have you read the "Big Book", Alcoholics Anonymous?
How much experience do you have with A.A. and N.A., really?
Where are you getting your ideas about what A.A. actually is?

Or are you actually a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and that is why you are so quick to dismiss any criticism of Alcoholics Anonymous as "not based on facts"?

Where are you getting your "facts"?

I have explained where I got mine. Read the introduction, where I described how I got shoved into 12-Step treatment, and a zillion A.A. and N.A. meetings, by a child-molesting Internet pornographer who was also a 12-Step true believer.

And then I have spent the following 6 years studying both the 12-Step cults, A.A., N.A., ACOA, Al-Anon, etc., and other cults.

Speaking of which, it seems that we have the same credentials — none, other than personal experience and years of studying cults. You were quick to declare that I am not an expert on cults. Are you? Where did you get your expertise?

3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

*** "by the leader and the ruling coterie"?

Again, this is a distinction without a difference. A.A. pretends to be free, and yet the "recovery industry" is a $6.8 billion per year racket, just in the USA, and 93% of the treatment centers in the USA sell 12-Step quackery at very high prices, easily $10,000 to $40,000 for a 28-day session of indoctrination in the 12 Step religion. The treatment centers give employment and pulpits to the A.A. recruiters. The A.A. members return the favor by sending more people to 12-Step "treatment".

And people are actually sentenced to that organization.

And yes, there is sexual exploitation. You are ignoring and minimizing the reports of rape and 13th-Stepping and other exploitation and abuse, and even killings.
You can't dismiss all of the reports as merely isolated incidents.
By that logic, Jim Jones' koolaid party was just one isolated incident.
Scientology's killing of a woman in Clearwater, Florida was just an isolated incident.

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
** guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
** also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
** having any medical education or training.  They have never
** gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
** residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
** life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
** is what you call quackery.

I sent that message to Rick Ross twice. It never saw the light of day.

On the other hand, this message was approved and posted:

From: Colter, Senior Member

Joined: 06 Apr 2006
Posts: 128
Location: Central Virginia

PostPosted: 09-12-2006 04:39 PM
Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Orange,

The sheer volume of deceptive half truths posted on your web site, combined with the characteristic chip on your shoulder lead me to conclude from the outset that at present you are neither reachable nor teachable.

When James G. protested the censorship, his message was censored too:

James G:

> > Orange,
> >
> > Sorry to be bombarding you with emails of late

On 11/09/06, Orange  wrote:
> Hey, don't feel bad. I'll get my revenge by bombarding
> you in return. :-)
> I just noticed that Rick Ross deleted my previous big
> long post where I questioned his credentials and his
> membership in A.A.. I guess I will have to post it
> to my own web site.
> The file is attached.
> Have a good day.
> —
> *          orange@orange-papers.org       *
> *      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
> *      http://www.orange-papers.org/      *
> ** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
> ** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
> ** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

From: "James G"
Subject: Re: Rick Ross
Date: Mon, September 11, 2006 12:02 pm


I told him he had killed the thread and told him he had a responsibility to let people see it through — tried to get all legal with him because he seems to think that the thread is alive although he is not posting what people say.

I think I am going to look into this further. Apparently there is a RIck Ross institution!! My word, God help us all, if there is one!!

Can I post your message on my site too?

J a m e s G

Sure, the more the merrier.

You are also welcome to echo my suspicions about him being a Stepper because of the way he argues with Stepper propaganda tricks — just be sure to say that "I suspect", and "I think", and "In my opinion, he might be"... Legally, that is not slander or libel because you are honestly describing your own thoughts. Cute trick, huh?

== Orange

From: "James G."
Subject: Response to the latest post on the Cult Education Forum
Date: Tue, September 12, 2006 6:00 pm


Thought you'd like to see this:

The following was written and APPROVED on the Cult Education Forum:

"Mr. Orange,

The sheer volume of deceptive half truths posted on your web site, combined with the characteristic chip on your shoulder lead me to conclude from the outset that at present you are neither reachable nor teachable.

What your doing in the name of helping is nothing short of evil!

Should you ever become sufficiently dissatisfied with yourself, repent of your orgy of self will and by faith embrace living truth, God will reach out for you, but at this point your determined to seel your heart.

"You who refuse to show mercy, can you hope for mercy in the worlds to come"?

"But whosoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea."

If by their fruits we will know them we can see that there is no truth in you.


My response:

Christ on a florescent yellow banana board people — if that is not the voice of a brainwashed person, what the hell is? I had to pinch myself before I believed I was awake when I read that. 'Deceptive half truths?' Has this man read the Big Book let alone the 12 and 12? And what of a man, namely Rick Ross, that has the audacity to accuse us of being 'cult like' in an earlier post, that then goes on to allow this kind of post? To call Orange evil for exposing the truth that has been researched over years is totally wrong, and untrue. Orange does not use faith or long words or lots of feelings (even I still use feelings) to get his point across; he uses facts that he cites and has researched for years. No one knows who he is and he has made no money out of this. He has answered his critics via his letters page both with dignity and respect. He rarely gets personal and he answers each point painstakingly. And even if you are true believer and work the steps, then surely there is at the very least scope to see that this is not a program that should be sold to everyone as the only solution.

No doubt Rick Ross will use the distinction of a religion over a cult to defend those words by Colter. Even though I am not Orange, I took those comments to be equally applied to me, someone who is also doing his utmost to get the truth out to people. Rick Ross claims not to have heard from the families of AA members that have been indoctrinated by its program ? how do all your families feel about the involvement you had with XA? Do they support Rick Ross' view?

I think I can understand Rick Ross' dilemma — he relies on support and because of anonymity he has no idea who is in AA and who is not. That applies to the people he knows personally as well as professionally. He knows he can't speak out against AA or approve anyone that does because it might offend someone who helps to make his site as popular as it is. That does not mean he is right however. It serves as an assault on evolution and belittles the truth.

As for Orange not being teachable — I think we can all see he has worked very hard using the very methods used by respected educational institutions — he is far from teachable indeed, he is learned. That said, even Orange himself has encouraged me when I have had doubts over his work, which I can prove. When I doubted his numbers for the success rate in AA he was not offended, and in fact encouraged me to continue to question these things until I understood how he had reached these figures. AA does not do that, it tells us to "take the cotton wool out of our ears and stick it in our mouths!"

Let's show our support to Orange.

J a m e s G

Now when I search for either of those messages on pages 22 or 23 of that thread, I don't see either. Apparently, Ross deleted both of them. Then he posted a message about how he had deleted messages that "broke the rules of the web site", like "flaming and preaching... anti-military war protestors, various political types, racists, self-promotional efforts and advertisers."

I don't quite see where questioning Rick Ross's knowledge of A.A. and experience with A.A., and his anti-cult credentials, fits into that "rule".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

Here are two other posts to the same thread, which did get published:

The moderator wrote on 09-06-2006 01:14 PM to James G.:
Thanks for expressing your opinion.

No recognized cult expert that I know of has ever compared AA to Lifton per the criteria you have used regarding thought reform (including Lifton) or cult formation, and concluded that AA is a "cult" or that it somehow "brainwashes" people, but you are entitled to your opinion.

Apparently the moderator has not read the pioneering work of Dr. Edgar H. Schein.

There were three pioneering experts in the field of "brainwashing", or "coercive thought reform" — Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer, and Dr. Edgar H. Schein. See this page for a summary of their various approaches to the subject:

Here is Edgar Schein's book on brainwashing:

Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological Analysis of the "Brainwashing" of American Civilian Prisoners by the Chinese Communists, by Edgar H. Schein, with Inge Schneier and Curtis H. Barker
W.W. Norton, New York, 1961.
LC: BF633
LCCN: 61-7483
Dewey: 131.333

In some ways this book complements Edward Hunter's book "Brainwashing, From Pavlov to Powers", because this book concentrates its attention on American civilians who happened to be in China when Mao took over, and were arrested by Mao's forces and subjected to "thought reform" in prison.

The author states (p.21) that he checked his hypotheses with others like Lifton and Barnett, and drew heavily from Hunter, so obviously that small group of pioneers were in communication with each other, trading ideas and information.

This book and the books by Edward Hunter and Robert Jay Lifton ("Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China") are the classics of the field, and are simply must reading for students of brainwashing and mind-control programs.

Schein saw "thought reform" programs as working in stages:
1. Unfreezing — Make the subject lose his previous identity. Shatter his self-confidence and belief in himself, his moral standards, and his previous philosophy.
2. Changing — Change the subject into whatever is desired.
3. Refreezing — Make the subject lock in the changes by solidifying his new personality.

Schein wrote:
The bases for being judged guilty which he [the victim] must come to appreciate are the following:
1. Guilt by Association.
2. Guilt by Intention.
3. Guilt for Incorrect Attitudes.
4. Guilt for Incorrect Thoughts.
5. Guilt for Having Knowledge.
6. Guilt for Harmful Action.
7. Guilt for Failure to Act.
8. Guilt for Having a Characteristic Personal Fault or Faults.
9. Guilt for Having Dangerous Social Origins.
— pages 141-143.

The confession sessions of Alcoholics Anonymous Steps 4 and 5 do that job, and so does the "sharing" in A.A. meetings.

Even back in 1960, Edgar Schein saw that Alcoholics Anonymous was a mind-control or thought-reform program. While he was describing the workings of Chinese Communist brainwashing programs, Schein also wrote:

Certain organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) do not deliberately unfreeze an individual but refuse to take anyone under their care who is not already unfrozen. Thus a person does not become eligible for care by AA unless he has really become desperate, is dissatisfied with himself, and is prepared to turn his fate over to some greater power.
— page 272.

The interesting question arises then, in what way are groups in fact used in the unfreezing of individuals in the parallel types of institutions which we have discussed? ... In AA the small discussion group plays a key therapeutic role; in mental hospitals there has been an increasing reliance on therapy groups, work groups of various sorts, and/or patient self-government groups, where in each case the assumption is made explicitly or implicitly that for the new group member the membership experience will produce influence of a kind desired by the institution; in educational workshops, like those concentrating on human relations training, the group experience is considered the key educational experience...
— page 274.

But what of those institutions which are entered voluntarily and from which the individual may withdraw voluntarily — educational institutions, religious orders, AA, psychoanalysis, revival meetings, fraternities, and so on? We believe that in such institutions the social pressures which can be generated can be as coercive as the physical constraints previously described. Not only is voluntary withdrawal generally defined as failure, but the act of entry into an institution may constitute a more or less irrevocable commitment in that the individual often cuts himself off from alternate paths when he makes his decision. In addition to these two forces there is acting perhaps an even more powerful one, the confirmation by fellow group members and by "back home" significant others of the emerging institutional identity. The young man who has entered a religious order and wishes after half a year to leave it will have a difficult time psychologically if he is considered by his peers and teachers to be a good student, if his parents have their hearts set on his becoming a priest, if his friends have already abandoned his old identity in their own eyes and treat him only in terms of his new one, and if his termination is defined by all concerned as an act of moral weakness. Obviously these pressures are not always as strong as we have implied, and obviously people do leave institutions like religious orders, but equally obviously it generally requires an act of great courage to do so. Such courage is not too dissimilar to the courage required to resist the pressures of thought reform.
— pages 275-276.

Schein clearly saw that "voluntary" organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (or Scientology, or the Moonies) are not entirely voluntary, and that quitting them can be very difficult, sometimes nearly impossible.

And when people are sentenced to A.A., and the choice is either A.A. or jail, then there is no freedom to quit.

The moderator declared,
Schein never said "AA is a cult" or that 12-step groups are engaged in thought reform.

You may cite Schein for the purpose of your Web site, but Schein hasn't endorsed or supported your conclusions.

Oh come on! Get real. You are quibbling over phrases. Schein clearly described how A.A. does brainwashing, and you are saying, "But he didn't call A.A. a cult."

No, he just said that A.A. brainwashes its victims and makes it extremely difficult for them to leave the organization. What do you call that, a friendly social club?

By the way, what happened to my previous post where I asked about your credentials and membership in Alcoholics Anonymous?

Did you chose to censor that? Should I post that response on my web site?

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

More to come...

By the way, we can continue the thread here. I promise not to censor anyone. The only things I will delete are:

  1. Obvious scams.
    If you start lecturing me about how I can make millions by trading stocks, options or commodities with just a simple program, that message is gone. So are the advertisements for fake Viagra.

  2. Pure hate-mongering.
    I can tolerate the occasional personal attack on me (but keep it down on flaming other posters, please), but there are a few people in the alt.recovery.aa and alt.recovery.from-12-steps newsgroups who just play the hovering vulture, and swoop down and attack everybody and anybody who dares to criticize A.A., while never supplying any actual facts to support their accusations and slurs and name-calling. Their behavior is unwelcome.

  3. So, likewise, racism, religious bigotry, and such are history.
    Now watch out here: Honestly criticizing religious doctrines, like criticizing the doctrines and tenets of Buchmanism or Scientology, is not religious bigotry. It is possible to honestly debate religious philosophy without resorting to bigotry. I think you know the difference.

  4. Message flooding. Posting the same nonsense over and over and over and over ... ad infinitum.
    I do not interpret arguing a point insistently for a while, and not backing off, as message flooding. Message flooding is when somebody leans on the SEND key in order to flood the reciever with garbage and basically overwhelm and cripple the thread or bulletin board.

Okay, I think that about covers it, for starters.

I recognize the similarity between my rules and Rick Ross's. But I won't delete messages just because they criticize me or say things that I don't like, or question my knowledge and credentials.

Have a good day.

Date: Fri, September 15, 2006 2:22 am
From: "Bloozman"
Subject: rick ross


I was reading your posts about rick ross so I had to get my 3 and a half cents in. I wrote a post on the AA thread on his site as follows:

Why is a person who disagrees with AA an anti-AA "activist" but a person who agrees is not a pro-AA activist? There seems to be a bias here regarding the question of AA being a cult by the moderators. If AA is granted immunity in the question of "culthood" then this whole website is worthless. Deleting posts that disagree with AA is more inflammatory preaching than quoting the bible. If one side is not allowed to speak due to the unpopularity of their opinions what kind of free speech is promoted on this site?

Anyone can be a self proclaimed "expert". Are there any "experts" on cults? What is the criteria for being an expert besides claiming that you are one and that your detractors are not? I would say I am as much an expert on AA as anyone from being involved in it and studying it objectively. Usually so called cult experts know almost nothing about AA.

AA is an obvious cult with many parallels to other usually recognized cults such as scientology including thought control, anti-intellectualism, abuse of members especially newcomers, breaking down of ego and building it back in their own image. They even admit blatantly that they believe in and practice "ego deflation". Does that sound like a friendly neighborhood self help group? I will stop my post for now and read the replies. (assuming I dont get censored).

This is all he posted:

Are there any "experts" on cults? What is the criteria for being an expert besides claiming that you are one and that your detractors are not?

Just a question so he could answer. Not only censorship but misrepresentation! Editing the blogs to suit his beliefs. How can he censor my words when I didn't break any rules? Then he's locking down the topic. So post my question, answer it with a bunch of lies and then lock it down. some forum. He answered like I figured that an expert is someone recognized by the court. Of course someone who has been "recognized" in the way he has. Rick Ross has no credentials not even a degree but he is recognized by the courts as an expert. hell they need some expert. Is that the same court that sends people to AA illegally?

(Um, unfortunately, it looks like it.)

I wont post his answer anyone can look it up on the forum.
It's just a lot of crap about how he's the expert and anyone disagreeing isn't. Guess I'll have to make my own web site if I want to say something without being censored by Nazis like rick ross.


Hi again, Bloozman,

Well, I put your letter up on my site without censorship.

Thanks for the letter, and have a good day.

Oh, by the way, if you haven't read the Wikipedia entry for Rick Ross, do so. It's an eye-opener.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The more incompetent someone is in a particular area, the less
**  qualified that person is to assess anyone's skill in that space,
**  including their own. When one fails to recognise that he or
**  she has performed poorly, the individual is left assuming that
**  they have performed well. As a result, the incompetent will
**  tend to grossly overestimate their skills and abilities.
**  == "Unskilled and Unaware of It", Alan Bellows, March 25, 2006
**  http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=406

From: "Emma"
Subject: Just sent this to Rick Ross, see below for thread — this guy is unbelieveable — like banging my head against a wall!
Date: Mon, October 2, 2006 5:14 am

----- Original Message -----
From: Emma
To: info@rickross.com
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 11:49 AM
Subject: research

Dear Mr Ross

i'm intrigued and concerned as to your reticence to fully explore the possibility of AA being a cult, is there any affiliation on your behalf with twleve step recovery that prevents you from exploring the possibility that it is? If your research is restricted to family members of exaa members approaching you then i'm afraid that you're restricting your research, how about the hundreds of people who have left this cult who want people to know how destructive and obsolete aa is for the thousands of people who don't wish to adopt a set dogma that is destructive and instills lack of trust with the self and dependence upon God in order to remain sober? How can you possibly come to the conclusion that the response to your forum from ex-aa members is contrived? Believe me there are a lot of ex-aa members around and there's a very serious issue about the phobias that aa instills in people. I honestly believe it would be in your interest to take a more open-minded view of this and not be so deeply suspicious, after all we're regular people getting on with our lives and staying sober.

Kind regards


-----Original Message-----
From: RICK ROSS [mailto:rickross@rickross.com]
Sent: 29 September 2006 18:03
To: Emma
Subject: Re: research

I have no personal or professional connection in any way, shape or form with any 12-step program.

Over the past 25 years I have not received complaints would justify any "cult" label being applied to AA.

At times there have been splinter groups that broke away from 12-step programs that became "cults" or "cult-like," but this was the result of action typically taken by a charismatic leader not AA.

This has been discussed over and over again on the message board.

We seem to disagree, but you may believe whatever you want.

Rick Ross

-----Original Message-----
From: Emma
Sent: 02 October 2006 13:10
Subject: RE: research

Why do you limit your research to complaints from families (though my family and friends were concerned there concerns were limited because of their lack of knowledge of the dogma of AA and the fact that I didn't live in a commune)Were it not for my partner leaving aa I would never have left for fear that I would go insane and die a horiible death (no seriously, if you had at least familiarised yourself with the text of aa and listened to ex-members, the knowledge that AA instills beliefs like this would become apparent to you). If someone were to come up to you and say they wanted to leave an organisation but feared they would die or go insane because that was what they had been told, would you not be in the least bit curious that the organisation they were involved in was dodgy?

I know when I first left I couldn't approach a cult expert because of their fees but I did buy steve hassans book and was concerned and yet amazed at how AA fits perfectly into the bite model. I even told two close friends and my parents the AA dogma and they were appalled.

I can only presume that for you to go look into the evidence against AA would probably result in a serious lawsuit and indeed you are quite helpless in this case, and the chances of you winning a lawsuit would fall on their head when it arose you have no paper qualifications.

At least Steve Hassan has the balls to mention AA on his website. Also, how can you censor James G's and orange's questioning posts (just did some research in my lunch break) and then condone a post that says anti-aa people are evil! You are one guy with an agenda, and it seems you are not the right person to deal with an issue of this magnitude.

-----Original Message-----
From: RICK ROSS [mailto:rickross@rickross.com]
Sent: 02 October 2006 12:19
To: Emma
Subject: Re: research

I don't look into groups upon request.

If there is some controversy regarding a particular group the press (Associated Press, Reuters, major metropolitan newspapers) pick up on it.

People then send me links and/or share links to breaking newspaper or wire service stories at www.cultnews.net

I recognize the effort of some people to call AA a "cult" and organize anti-AA sites on the Internet.

However, I have received no significant complaints from families over the years (since 1983) about AA.

I think this subject has been exhausted at the message board and anyone interested can read those threads.

I don't see AA as a "cult" and/or relevant to my work.

Rick Ross

----- Original Message -----
From: "Emma"
To: "RICK ROSS" <rickross@rickross.com]
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 4:16 AM
Subject: RE: research

Dear Mr Ross

Thank you for replying to my message.

It would seem that you have recently become aware of many complaints of the cult-like nature of AA through the message board alone, perhaps now you will look into it further, seeing as you have no affiliation. Although I am one of the less vocal dissenters of AA, I am nonetheless very concerned with its message and the negative impact it's having on people who only want sobriety. I am more than happy to give you any information on my 5 years experience in AA (I did all the steps and was a model stepper) should you be interested.

I just think that it's important for ex-aa members to have some official recognoition of the destructiveness that aa dogma can have on people's minds, when leaving,

Kind regards


Hi Emma,

Thanks for the letters.

Yes, for some odd reason he just seems determined to ignore all evidence that there might be something wrong with Alcoholics Anonymous. Strange, very strange.

And I have to agree that "complaints from families" is an absurd standard to use for deciding whether something is a cult. That's like there are no cults except for the groups that haunt college campuses and prey on the students, and when the parents complain, it becomes a cult.

But then again, Rick Ross used to be a paid "deprogrammer", paid by the parents who complained. Maybe that has colored his judgement. "If there are no complaining parents, then there is no pay, so there is no cult."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  People who will not work for what is right
**  Are little better than those who are doing wrong.

Date: Fri, February 2, 2007 6:30 am
From: "RICK ROSS" <rickross@rickross.com>
Subject: Flaming Websites Award

A. Orange:


You have won a Flaming Website Award!

See http://www.rickross.com/flamingwebsites.html

You won two out of a possible four flames award level.

Feel free to stop by and grab your badge of honor.

See http://www.rickross.com/graphics/2flame.html

Rick Ross

Ah yes, Hello Rick.
It would be fun to debate you sometime in a neutral forum where you cannot censor your opponents' letters.
Have a good day.
== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Mon, February 5, 2007 11:52 am
From: "RICK ROSS" <rickross@rickross.com>
Subject: Re: Flaming Websites Award

Whatever "debate" arguments you had were made by you and others urged to "troll" the message board.

And now you have an award too.


Rick Ross

Actually, no, I did not get to state my case.
You cut me off after just a few postings.
What other people may have said before I came along has nothing to do with me, and they do not speak for me.

Nor did they say all of what I would have said.

If you want to really honestly discuss the cultish characterists of Alcoholics Anonymous, we can do so on my web site, and I promise not to censor your letters or cut you off.

Have a good day.
== Orange

Date: Mon, February 5, 2007 2:07 pm
From: "RICK ROSS" <rickross@rickross.com>
Subject: Re: Flaming Websites Award

No thanks.

Not relevant to my work.

Rick Ross

Much later (24 May 2007):
How sweet it is. Rick Ross now has a couple of web pages up that declare that Alcoholics Anonymous (at least the Washington DC Midtown Group branch of it) is in fact a cult after all.

  1. http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general915.html
    == Critics Say Washington AA Chapter Is Cultlike
    Recovering alcoholics say a Washington, D.C., group has hijacked the 12-step program's name.
    Newsweek Magazine/May 7, 2007
    By Nick Summers

  2. http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general923.html
    == Former Midtown AA Members Claim Cult-Like Behavior


And there are several old LOCKED threads where people tried to talk about Alcoholics Anonymous being unscientific and cultish. "Locked" means that you cannot post comments or additions to them.

  1. http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=2635&sid=e4b77c29b1da002d491d73ae5e437607
    == Question for Alcoholics Anonymous experts.

  2. http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=4079&sid=83311f7e99348dc71d85b68afb28254e
    == Alcoholics Anonymous Court Ordered (1st Tradition)

  3. http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=274&sid=83311f7e99348dc71d85b68afb28254e
    == Alcholics Anonymous should be regarded as a cult.

  4. http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=2691&sid=83311f7e99348dc71d85b68afb28254e
    == AA, the mental health community, and the courts

  5. http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=2611&sid=83311f7e99348dc71d85b68afb28254e
    == Alcoholics Anonymous - Savage Therapy

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

UPDATE: 2013.05.22:

Here we go again, one more time: Rick Ross again claims that A.A. is not a cult, and won't listen to any evidence to the contrary:


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Last updated 22 May 2013.
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