Letters, We Get Mail, CX

May 27, 2008: Back in the park, Day 10.

The rain let up, so the goslings got to go back to the park in the morning.

Canada Goose gosling

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Thu, June 5, 2008 11:10 am     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "Anthony J."
Subject: Why ?

Dude, I must say I'm impressed with our effort but I keep asking myself "why"?

Hello Anthony,

Here is the standard answer to the question "why?":

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

You are free to attend AA meetings or not, just like everyone else is. If it's not your thing, then by all means don't go. But why all this work to pick it apart ?

No, people are not free to attend or not. A whole lot of people are coerced into the 12-Step racket. More than half of all of the current A.A. members were pressured, coerced, and shoved into A.A. by one means or another. Look here: Aggressive Recruiting.

Alcoholism is a terrible disease and many lives are ripped apart or lost to it. This isn't AA's fault. AA is passing on the solution used by Bill W, Dr. Bob and the "first 100" as outlined in the Big Book.
That's all.
There isn't any more to it.

Yes, alcoholism is terrible, but that doesn't make A.A. good.

A.A. is not a solution — it is an old cult religion that doesn't help with alcoholism. That's all.

Oh, and the "first 100" were really only 40. Bill Wilson was playing fast and loose with the numbers, as usual.

This is from page 95 of The Big Book (bold print added by me) :

" If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case to be friendly. Let it go at that."

It honestly is as benign as that.

What you are exposing is the bait-and-switch nature of Alcoholics Anonymous propaganda. Bill Wilson opened discussions with mild-sounding statements like "we know only a little", and "we have no monopoly", but then he switched to death threats and declared that A.A. really was the only way:

Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [MY required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to [MY] spiritual principles.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 174.

... 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 basis of life — or else.

The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 44.

And the A.A. slogans are:

  • "Works the Steps or Die!"
  • "If you leave A.A., your fate is jails, institutions, or death."
  • "It's Our Way or the Die Way."
  • "It is suggested that you Work The Steps, just like how, if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is 'suggested' that you pull the ripcord to save your life.
  • "Do The Steps or Die."
  • "Share Or Die."
  • "Talk Or Die."
  • "Change Or Die."
  • "A.A.'s like the Mafia — If you leave it, you die."

It is honestly as malicious as that.

Oh, and the line that you bold-faced is untrue: "we merely have an approach that worked with us..."
No, it didn't work for them. Bill Wilson was just exaggerating and lying again. The early A.A. had a horrible failure rate. Early A.A. didn't work any better than playing tiddly-winks for sobriety.

I just hope that you don't help enable people who otherwise might have been able to recover.
You may be guilty of the very same things you accuse AA of. You accuse AA of killing people, but I hope you haven't.
An active Alcoholic looking for an excuse not to recover (thinking exactly the way I used to think) will be only too eager to believe you when you tell them AA is a cult.

And there it is: the standard attack from the A.A. members who drank the koolaid:
"You are killing alcoholics by telling the truth and steering them away from Alcoholics Anonymous."
But that can't be true, because A.A. does not work to save the lives of alcoholics.

Well, I'm sure I can't tell you anything you haven't already heard. I hope you enjoy a long sober life. But I do hope you don't harm anyone else with you theories.

Yours in Sobriety
Tony J.

Hi Tony,

I also sincerely hope you don't harm anyone else with cult religion. Or drive them to drink, or suicide. Or get the under-age girls raped.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         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, June 5, 2008 4:36 am     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "anonymous"
Subject: coercion, treatment centers, etc

Dear Orange:

AA relies heavily upon mandates and SAT centers for attendees. Without them, AA would be very small.
[SAT = Substance Abuse Treatment]

Three Federal Courts of Appeal have ruled against coerced attendance. These rulings have to be enforced. And, people have to take action to see that the rulings are obeyed.

12 step is, in my view, malpractice. SAT centers using 12 step are using an iatrogenic method. Such centers have to be sued and malpractice judgments made against them. That will chill their ardor for 12 step and AA/NA.
[iatrogenic = causes a disease, rather than cures one]

Education that AA/NA does not work; and, that better methods exist, are becoming better known.

AA is, really, quite small. The one million number put out is an estimate of those who attend. The actual membership is small.

I really appreciate your work. You have increased public awareness of the iatrogenic nature of AA/NA/12 step



Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the letter. I really have to agree. I couldn't argue with a word of it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    I try to be careful about what I say because I know
**    there are people out there waiting to get me. ;)
**       ==  Bill Randall

Date: Wed, June 4, 2008 9:26 pm     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: Crazyonu
Subject: Angry???

Could you be a dry drunk????

Hello Crazyonu,

Nope. I couldn't be a dry drunk, because there is no such thing. That is just another one of those fake, made-up, non-existent Alcoholics Anonymous "diseases", like "codependency", which also doesn't exist.

Not coincidentally, I wrote up a whole web page on The Dry Drunk. Check it out.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   'Resentment is the "number one" offender.
**   It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.
**   From it stem all forms of spiritual disease...'
**     ==  The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 64.
**   "We AA's have never called alcoholism a disease because,
**   technically speaking it is not a disease entity."
**     ==  William G. Wilson, speaking to the National Catholic Clergy Conference On Alcoholism,  April 21, 1960, in New York

Date: Tue, June 3, 2008 7:41 am     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "John L."
Subject: AA's "success" rate


It's me, John L. I have been investigating this thing for many years, before I was a Christian and after I was saved. I want to thank you for standing up to something you realized was not what it was purported to be.

Agent Orange, what is the latest on AA's success rate? I know a few years ago their own survey showed only one in twenty was still attending one year after initial visit. And Bill, in one of Kurtz's footnotes, refers to "thousands" who could not be helped by AA.

Anyway, you are probably right on top of success rates etc. Thanks. I ask my God to bless you.


Hi John,

Thanks for the compliments.

The net success rate is still zero. That is, A.A. has an apparent success rate of about five percent, but the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholism is also about five percent per year. A.A. cannot claim the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway. When you subtract the rate of spontaneous remission from the A.A. success rate, you get zero.

The latest news on this issue comes from New Mexico. Very recently, the team of William R. Miller at the Center for Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Addictions, Dept. of Psychology, University of New Mexico, published a paper where they describe a study which found no effect for spiritual intervention in a large randomized clinical trial:

Spiritual direction in addiction treatment: Two clinical trials
W. Miller, A. Forcehimes, M. O'Leary, M. LaNoue,
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 35, Issue 4, Pages 434-442.

That's big. True, valid, randomized clinical trials of A.A. or 12-Step treatment are as rare as hen's teeth. And every time one has been done, the researchers have again found A.A. to be a failure — completely ineffective, or worse. ("Worse than completely ineffective" means that A.A. causes more alcoholics to die.)

By the way, I don't mean to imply that all spiritual things are invalid. I think the researchers were using the Alcoholics Anonymous definition of "spirituality", or "spiritual treatment of alcoholism", which I would call "crazy heresy".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The fact that there are many fools who tell lies does
**  not mean that there isn't such a thing as truth.

Date: Mon, June 2, 2008 7:02 pm     (answered 10 April 2009)
From: "Dave P."
Subject: Thanks

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for your work at your site. I am so grateful for you presence on the internet. I am in my own battle right now with the system do to a DUI. I am guilty of a DUI, there is no doubt. I am on probation because of my mistake. But what happened after my alcohol evaluation and treatment was just shocking. How can this be? I am baffled how they wish me to admit that drinking and mistakes are not my fault (disease), and to give my life and will to the program (by admitting my mistakes). You know the drill.

I will be putting together a new website, to join the ranks, as I am web-developer on a mission. It will be part of my therapy and recovery process. I have been sober for 6 plus month, IN SPITE of my treatment.

Anyway, thanks for being there, with the information and the humor. It was much needed.

(I kept this short, even though I have volumes to say). You will hear again from me. I hope everyone that stands up will help reform the current situation. Thanks!

Truly yours,

Hello David,

Thanks for the letter. I hope your web site does well.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what
**    they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their
**    own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the
**    very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power
**    does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed."
**        ==  Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

Date: Sun, June 1, 2008 5:03 pm     (answered 10 April 2009)
From: "Chris M."
Subject: Orange papers

I discovered your site, and am reading through it. I have to ask, Who are you? And why don't you identify yourself on the site? I'm not accusing, just asking.

Hello Chris,

In the beginning, anonymity was necessary because my housing was owned by the same corporation as owned the quack treatment center that I was writing about. You know, the one where the cocaine-snorting child-molesting Internet child pornographer taught us that we needed to get "a Higher Power in our recovery program." That corporation is called "Central City Concern", and they are still running that "treatment center", which is named "PAAC", Portland Alternative Addictions Center. They also run another "PAAC", the Portland Alternative Acupuncture Center, where they poke needles into alcoholics and addicts, and claim that it reduces their cravings.

But times have changed. Anonymity isn't necessary any more. I don't live there any more, so they can't threaten my housing. My real name is Terrance Hodgins, and I am 62 years old, and I live in Portland, Oregon.

Here is some biographical material:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense
  4. who are you,
  5. who are you, 2, and
  6. really an alcoholic...
  7. the story about "Rat Park"

There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "The therapeutic state is a totalitarian state all
** the more so for masking its tyranny as therapy."
**  ==  Thomas Szasz

Date: Sat, May 31, 2008 6:56 am     (answered 10 April 2009)
From: "alan"
Subject: errors in orange papers

Hi Orange

Congratulations on a fantastic site. You certainly have an amazing talent for spotting bullshit. I've found it all fascinating, incisive, very well-written and laugh-out-loud funny. You've convinced me to dump AA and try SMART. Knowing about Lizard Brain would have been a big help. I know you hate nit-pickers, but as your site is so well done, I think it deserves to have the few typing errors corrected, so I've listed the ones I spotted, from after I read orange-effectiveness, onwards. Hope you don't take offense.

Alan August

ps: When I tried logging on to your site on my friend's internet account with Virgin in the UK at the start of April, it was blocked as a fraudulent site.

[...and a long list of misspellings and typographical errors follows...]

Hi Alan,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I hope you are doing well.

Thanks for the list of errors. You must have incredibly sharp eyes. I've been looking at those things for years and didn't catch them. That was quite a long list.

I like it when people catch those typos. I don't consider that nit-picking, not when it is done to actually correct errors and improve the site. That makes it a lot easier for me to fix things, and I like to fix things.

The thing about nit-pickers is that they find some minor misspelling or typographical error, and then declare that the whole web site is invalid because of it.

I don't know about the Virgin blocking. I have also heard that if people download the Comcast toolbar, in parts of the USA, that it will block my web site as a "phishing web site" that steals people's identities.

That is totally untrue, of course. I don't even have any cgi-bin or fill-in forms that could steal people's personal information.

My web site is no more dangerous than a book printed on paper. It can't steal information from people.

Would people who use Virgin or Comcast please tell me whether they are seeing any blocking of the Orange Papers web site?

Thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If you have to pray for some "Higher Power" or "God" to save you
**  from alcoholism, why is that called a "Self-Help Movement"?

Date: Fri, May 30, 2008 5:52 pm     (answered 11 April 2009)
From: "Wade J."
Subject: AA

Do you do any lobbying?


Hi Byron,

Not nearly enough. I've written a few letters to Senators and Congressmen, and gotten back the usual boiler-plate "we are working to improve treatment of addicts" publicity froth.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    What the Federal bailout programs are teaching us is
**    that the big professional losers get bailed out, and
**    the little amateur losers need not apply.

Date: Fri, May 30, 2008 9:45 am     (answered 11 April 2009)
From: "Rita P."
Subject: AA opinion

It's sad that you have nothing better to do than tear apart a worthy organization such as AA. Regardless of the numbers you spew, there is but one bottom line. If someone works the program, and I do mean TRULY works the program, the program will work for them 100% of the time.

Hello Rita,

What you are saying is, "If someone quits drinking, and I do mean TRULY quits drinking, then it will look like A.A. works and does something good."

What works? I mean, what is the essential core thing that someone absolutely must do in order to "work the program"?

  1. It can't be going to A.A. meetings. That is optional. You can go to as few or as many as you like. In the early days of A.A., Bill Wilson bragged about the "lone wolf" members of A.A. who just ordered the book and read it, and got sober, and never went to a meeting.

  2. It can't be working the 12 Steps, because they are only suggestions. You don't have to work the Steps.

  3. It can't be reading the Big Book. I've had people email me and say that my criticism of what is in the Big Book is irrelevant, because they have many years of sobriety and they have never read the Big Book.

  4. It can't be "Coming to Believe" in "Higher Power". That is also optional. Bill Wilson said that you didn't have to believe anything. And A.A. defenders routinely brag to me about the atheist chapters of A.A.

  5. It can't be getting a sponsor. Lots of sober people never had a sponsor.

  6. It can't be recruiting. Some A.A. members brag to me that they have never gone recruiting.

So what is "The Program"?

Apparently, the only real program is that you are commanded to quit drinking by using your own determination and will power, and then you must give the credit for the quitting to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, and that doesn't work to make alcoholics quit drinking.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A.A. is not a "self-help group", it's an
**     "elf-help group". You are supposed to pray
**     and beg for an invisible "Higher Power",
**     like a leprechaun, or Cinderella's Fairy
**     Godmother, to solve all of your problems
**     for you and grant all of your wishes.

Date: Mon, May 26, 2008 9:57 pm     (answered 11 April 2009)
From: Terence
Subject: Recovery from Alcoholism

What have u to offer,if 'AA' is not the answer ???


Sri Lanka

Hello Terence,

We were just talking about that. Look here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Abstinence isn't self-denial or deprivation.
**   It's just that I've already done my lifetime quota.

Date: Mon, May 26, 2008 7:21 pm     (answered 11 April 2009)
From: "JoeT"
Subject: The First Fascist Mad Scientist of Alcoholics Anonymous — ???

Dear Orange:

This is the most misinterpreted misrepresented paper I have ever read... Talk about someone trying to brainwash..

The First Fascist Mad Scientist of Alcoholics Anonymous

But in reading it, it sounds like it was written by an intellectual narcissist who struggles with his/her sobriety and perhaps gender identity (just a hunch)... We are all brainwashed from day 1. Its called socialization.... What isn't a cult? The books and papers you choose to read, the music to which you listen, even your gender identity or perhaps gender identity disordered rainbow that drove you to drink are al aspects of socialization — "brainwashing" Its all brainwashing... Whats not a cult? If you don't conform — there are consequences. Some in AA claim that they needed to have their brains washed of self-righteous indignation, type-A behavior, narcissism, and selfishness.. Sounds like good living to me. Sounds like the authour is a bit bitter because s/he may have tried AA and couldn't not drink — just for one day.. Perhaps tried "responsible" drinking and couldn't have just one... just for one day.. Simply put — you didn't fit in otherwise why write such hideous bitter prose?What a bitter diatribe,...

As an addiction researcher and academician and a member of the "AA cult", AA works as well as any other approach — the data from noted addiction researchers from NIAAA and NIDA have published papers on the issue. And it works because it functionally uses cognitive-behavioral therapy and social support.- although AA doesn't care how it works because those of us who are really sick need to keep it simple and stupid to survive. Brainwashing? Perhaps — but sobriety.. .

I'd like to see some citations of your sources.. And as an aside, ego is used many senses. Its a construct that can't really be measured empirically.

So — go back to your intellectual masturbation and keep chasing that apocraphal dragon...

Joe from AA

Hello Joe,

Starting with your request for citations: Those documents are the citations. Those are the original Tiebout documents. Look around on the Internet and you can find other copies, if you think that my copies are not valid and accurate.

You toss out a mess of minimization and denial: "We are all brainwashed from day 1. Its called socialization.... What isn't a cult? ... Its all brainwashing... Whats not a cult?"

Well, most social organizations are not cults. The mainstream churches, the schools, universities, government — they are not cults.

Do you even know what a cult is? Please read The Cult Test.

You claim that "AA works as well as any other approach."

Oh really? And how well is that? What is the actual A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year medallion a year later?
And how many will get 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins?
How about 11 years and 21 years?
(HINT: the answers are here.

You claimed, "...the data from noted addiction researchers from NIAAA and NIDA have published papers on the issue." — which is kind of garbled, but I understand your drift. Well, you still have not given any actual information about the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous. Precisely who wrote what, and where and when did they publish it? What did they really say? And how many of them actually did any real controlled testing of A.A.-based treatment? Real testing, like Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies? Just because somebody writes some paper that praises A.A. does not mean that it is evidence that A.A. really works to make alcoholics quit drinking.

Here are some real controlled studies, valid clinical trials:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "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.

Date: Mon, May 26, 2008 10:00 am     (answered 11 April 2009)
From: "anonymous"
Subject: You rock!!

Hi Agent Orange, thank you so much for all the fantastic research you have made available online. More power to you. I hope that the cult members haven't retaliated too much.

I've also been reading about the Midtown group. The 12 steps are a perfect template for creating a cult. Taken from a cult leader and improved upon by a cult leader and handed on down to any psychopath who wants to feather his own nest and bang all the hot newcomers. I really don't see any difference between Bill W and Mike Q.

I'm angry that I was directed into NA at the age of 18. The NA that I was in 20 years ago was no different from the Midtown group. Addict business owners had a constant pool of cheap labor for their businesses (while telling everybody to take welfare so they wouldn't have to pay them full wages). Charismatic half way house managers dealt pounds of cocaine. The most powerful older sober members ensured their wealth by indebting impoverished women from Thailand to work in brothels for them (aka sexual slavery). The hierarchy was pretty much a mafia.

Like Scientology they do name drop their famous addicts. The identities of the celebrity members were made well known. They in turn would spout their brainwashing to the media. I will never forget the impact one of those interviews had on me. It certainly encouraged me to play down my skepticism.

Interestingly enough that first local celebrity who attracted me with his nationally published interviews constantly relapsed and ended up dying alone in a hotel room with a bottle of methadone. Perhaps if his head hadn't been filled with "disease concept" and he hadn't fallen into the clutches of an egotistical, wagon-hitching sponsor he'd still be alive and creating beautiful art today?

In spite of how much I pretended that I belonged I never really believed what they told me. As an atheist who couldn't believe in a Christian god provided by myriad established churches, how on earth could I believe in a God that I simply made up? Like my own "make believe" was somehow superior to the Pope's "make believe"?

So I was told to "fake it till you make it". If everybody is faking it until they make it, all you are left with is a room full of fakes.

After the "love bombing" phase had worn off, my skepticism returned and I couldn't sit through a meeting without believing that everybody was lying. The steps NEVER made sense to me. I did a 4th step 3 times in hope that "something" would happen. Naturally at the end of 3 years, when I drank wine at a party, my world crumbled. My social system collapsed, my status within the group was gone, "friends" withdrew their friendship. Luckily by this stage I had embarked on a university degree and had some healthy structure in my life.

The thing that really annoyed me about the braggarts and liars in the rooms was they did nothing with their lives. There were people there whose sole achievement in life was that they'd been doing the same thing (ie nothing) every day in a row for 5 years. Well not doing nothing, actually it was worse than nothing because they were spinning counter productive lies to vulnerable people.

It hurts me now to think of all those beautiful young people who entered the rooms, believed what they were told about "relapse" and "a chronic disease" and went out on all or nothing binges. I think it's the worst thing in the world to tell a teenager that they will get worse and worse and worse when in all likelihood what they are doing is a typical part of growing up and is rapidly left behind them once they choose a direction in life. So sad. No doubt the 12 steps have killed more people than they have helped.

At this time in my city, there was also Naranon and a small Narateen movement. That core group of '80s era Narateen children all went on to become junkies. Their poor misguided parents, trustingly put them in "recovery" as children and it only served to internalize worthless and damaging beliefs about substance use.

If there was a hell, Bill W should burn it it.

all the best


Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the letter. And the compliments. I hope you are doing well.

I thought about writing more things here, but you have written such a powerful letter that anything that I add just doesn't sound quite right, so I won't.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people
**     who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
**         ==  Mark Twain

Date: Mon, May 26, 2008 7:03 am     (answered 12 April 2009)
From: "Scott McL."
Subject: Thanks for the info...

Thanks for the info... FYI, all drunks are screwed up, that's why they are drunks... Bill Wilson was as crazy as a loon, no different from the rest of us. That's why AA works... a bunch of screwed up, crazy drunks come together and they stay sober. Cheating on one's wife, stealing etc, those things are not the norm among my AA friends, the best friends I've ever had.

My father's IQ was over 150... he died alone in a dingy room over a bar

I was an honor student at one of the top prep schools in NJ and homeless at 39, living in a car. None of my barroom "friends" seemed to be around then. AA has been a God- send literally... Your head would spin if I told you about the coincidences in my life since crawling into an AA meeting.

Believe me, it takes a lot of time to reverse a lifetime of chronically bad thinking and emotional problems... abstinence from alcohol/drugs is only the beginning... I have a shot at a pretty good life with AA, none without it. My father never had a chance...

take care

Hello Scott,

Thanks for the letter.

You are making a bunch of groundless assumptions, like that A.A. works. A.A. does not work. You should be able to see that with your own eyes if you have been around A.A. for very long. The A.A. clubhouse has a revolving door on the front of it. They come, they go, they come, they go.

What is the actual A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year medallion a year later?
And how many will get 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins?
How about 11 years and 21 years?
(HINT: the answers are here.

Then you assume that happy coincidences mean something, like that they are signs from Above, or some Higher Power is rigging the game for your benefit. Sorry to pop your balloon, but that is a false assumption. Most coincidences are just coincidences. Do you believe that when things are not going well for you, when one thing after another goes wrong, that it is because Higher Power has it in for you, and is rigging the game against you? Why not? That is also a coincidence, and it's just as real as when the good things happen.

I half-agree with this statement:
"Believe me, it takes a lot of time to reverse a lifetime of chronically bad thinking and emotional problems... abstinence from alcohol/drugs is only the beginning... "

It does take time to fix things, and heal, yes. But participation in a cult religion will not help you there — it will make you worse off. And I can see the effects of cultish indoctrination in how you denigrate yourself: "a lifetime of chronically bad thinking." A whole lifetime of bad thinking? Already? And how old are you?

I believe that if you examine your life carefully, you will find that the vast majority of your thinking was okay. You just made a few disastrously bad decisions, like deciding to drink too much alcohol, and you believed some unrealistic wrong things, like that you could get happy from drinking alcohol, and that drinking more alcohol would make you even happier. Those erroneous thoughts caused you much suffering. But you don't have to make sweeping statements about how you are guilty of "a lifetime of chronically bad thinking". But that is what A.A. teaches you to do. That is how A.A. will make you mentally ill in a different way.

You say that your father never had a chance. You know, I feel the same way about mine, because of his upbringing, his life in the military, his belief structure, and his mindset. After two previous failures at trying to quit drinking and stay sober with the V.A. and a Christian Brotherhood, he went to A.A., did seven years there, and then went out and was never heard from again. I, on the other hand, became a hippy and took LSD and lived on a commune. Apparently, that gave me a much better chance, because now I have 8 years clean and sober — totally clean, not even smoking cigarettes or pot or anything anymore, and I feel fine.

In truth, I think everybody has a chance, or several chances. Some people just don't use them right.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."
**     == Richard Bach

Date: Thu, May 22, 2008 3:29 am
From: "LeiLoni C."
Subject: A.A

hey, thanks for the info. reading what you said made me want to go to more meetings. I see that even smart people that know how to write well can totally delude themselfs and put alot of time into it. keep coming back.

Date: Wed, May 21, 2008 8:03 pm     (answered 12 April 2009)
From: "Kim"
Subject: Fark — Is AA a cult?

Hi Agent,

I always enjoy reading the latest from you and especially the mail section. It's an endless source of information and, quite frankly a great deal of entertainment. The irrationality of some of your more fervent critics can be really amusing.

Along those lines, Fark.com is my homepage.... it's a collection of funny/interesting/topical articles from various sources that submitters post with funny and inventive, often offensive headlines. Each article has a dedicated thread where all comments and opinions are fair game. It gets rough in there most times, especially with hot-button issues, as we all know AA is. Today someone linked to an article that asked "Is AA a cult?" So, I thought you would enjoy the read. I was actually quite encouraged for the most part with what people were saying. Its a long way from even a few years ago.


Enjoy! And thanks as always. You've got a growing fan base and since you source everything so thoroughly and take the time to break it all down, its really hard for people to deny the truth anymore.

Drug War POW
Straight St. Petersburg, 1982 — 1984

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the letter and the heads-up. Alas, I'm way backlogged in answered my email, as you can see, so I'm probably late to the party. But I'll check it out just as soon as I'm back online.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Faith is believing what you know ain't so
**   ==  Mark Twain

Date: Wed, May 21, 2008 6:34 pm     (answered 12 April 2009)
From: "Kevin T"
Subject: AA and stuff.

When I first started reading your paper, I was pissed at you. I wanted to spit on you.

Isn't that spiritual.

Then a funny thing happened. Dammit. The daily meetings I attend began to become — how can I put it — grating on my sensibilities. There are many reasons.

What I can say is that I have 40 months of sobriety and that AA helped me get sober. I don't think it is going to help me STAY sober however. That's my decision now.

So, in a funny way, thanks for writing the papers. I guess you've endured unbelievable criticism.

Taking things a day at a time,


Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the letter.

It sounds like you are ready to move on to the next phase. (Or probably, already have, considering how slow I am to answer some email.) If A.A. helped you somehow in the beginning, then good. But if it is grating on your nerves now, then that means that you are seeing both sides of the coin, and it probably is time to move upwards and onwards.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "The trouble ain't that there is too many fools,
**  but that the lightning ain't distributed right."
**   ==  Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)

Date: Tue, July 8, 2008 9:19 am
From: "William C."
Subject: Re: wikipedia

hello. i tried twice to edit the article on AA in wikipedia. i wrote a short blurb on criticism.. i wrote about the Harvard study, and included an external link to the orange papers. both times they erased it.


Hi William,

That's why I don't bother with Wikipedia. The Wiki is fine if you are writing about a non-controversial subject like Canon camera lenses. Then you can go on for many pages, laying out all of the information, and no one will erase it.

Alas, there is a crowd of A.A. true believers who constantly hover over the A.A. pages like vultures, and watch the Wikipedia for any information that they don't like, and when they see something, they immediately edit the page and erase the information.

It's just a problem with the Wikipedia idea where anybody can edit a page. It doesn't work for controversial subjects. You end up with opposing groups battling each other, and constantly erasing their opponents' work.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

I am glad that you are less disturbed by this than i am. AA is a dangerous cult, which, i believe has caused more deaths than drinking. i have witnessed, and my former sponsor (he defected too) have witnessed people who have killed themselves while in the program. in each case it was from being berated, being told things like "you have no control of your life" "your best thinking got you here" "you are not normal" "you are diseased" " you cannot have a relationship" etc. I would really like to help get the word out that it does not work, and that it is a haven for control freaks only.

Hi again, William,

You certainly can help to get the word out. Please do. You can write to all kinds of forums and media outlets, and don't forget your Congressman and Senators. It's just the Wikipedia that is unusable for controversial subjects.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         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: Thu, November 6, 2008 11:21 pm     (answered 12 April 2009)
From: "Tom and Laura H."
Subject: It all adds up to Zero except in your Head !

From the start, I detected that you were a shameless psychological, social, spiritual, financial and emotional mooch. You simply love to hear yourself talk.

Date: Fri, November 7, 2008 1:27 pm
From: "Robert H."
Subject: AA Secrets

It obvious that your ignorance is greater than your ego. I will pray for anyone who seeks your counsel for this fatal disease. You are truly an evil man who will one day have to stand before God and account for this evil deed.

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Last updated 23 November 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters110.html