Letters, We Get Mail, CXLVI



[William N.'s previous letter is here.]

Date: Thu, September 10, 2009 8:28 am     (answered 21 November 2009)
From: "William N."
Subject: More Craziness

Hi Orange,

What a long, strange trip it's been!

In one of my last letters I mentioned how I met with influential people at my workplace to discuss my company's considerable support of my local halfway-house/AA-propaganda center. This is the same halfway house which crows about its meaningless CARF accreditation and which plays fast and loose with its success rate (claiming 90+% success rate based on only 43 self-selected responses out of 1200+ patients over 20 years.)

My colleague listened attentively as I made the case that supporting a place which indoctrinates sick and vulnerable people with useless and harmful practices is bad and a waste of good money. I was told my concerns would be considered at the next board meeting to be held in the fall.

So get this: unbelievably enough I find out that next month (October) this halfway house will suddenly be "honoring" the Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of my company at a huge banquet — at the Hilton no less! He will receive their made-up "Distinguished Citizen Award." Past recipients include CEO's of other major companies who contribute funds to the halfway house.

Is it a coincidence that my company's COO happens to be THE person who ultimately decides which charities or worthy causes we support? Is it also a coincidence that the award will take place around the same time as the board meeting where continued financial support will be discussed?

I'm wondering if the issues I raised filtered back to the halfway house. If so — and as Bob Newhart used to say — "I think the conversation might have gone something like this:"

"Jesus Fred, did you hear about the ?____? Corporation? They're askin' a lot of questions about our success rate, our surveys, our methods. They're getting way too nosey. Ok, here's what we do: Let's nominate the COO for an award — that should shut 'em up."

Of all the people in the world to honor they suddenly pick the chief Operating Officer at my company? It really looks like a deliberate gambit to thwart any possible reduction in contributions my company might make. Can you believe it?

Bill N.

Hi again, Bill.

Alas, yes, I can believe it. It reminds me of the way that Ken Lay presented Alan Greenspan with the Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service in November, 2001, less than three weeks before Enron was forced to file for bankruptcy.

It seems to be an old racket, stroking egos. The interesting question is, will the COO be stupid enough to get fooled by that trick?

"Oh yeh, that halfway house is a great bunch of guys. They just gave me an award."

What did that little plaque or trophy really cost the COO and his company? A mere $30,000 donation, each year for several years? I'd call it The Sucker Award.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "The most fundamental form of human stupidity is forgetting
**    what we were trying to do in the first place." 
**      ==  Nietzche

[William N.'s next letter is here.]





Date: Thu, September 10, 2009 1:27 pm     (answered 21 November 2009)
From: "Lori B."
Subject:

THANK YOU!

I feel like I need a recovery program from the last 3 1/2 years in AA. For the last year I have really struggled with the feeling that something is not quite right. The only advice anyone, including my sponsor, had to give was to go to more meetings, do more service work, blah, blah, blah. No one would listen. I was miserable and I felt so unhealthy.

It's funny, I had a writing assignment for class and I was looking for information on Bill W. (the saint). I was getting real tired of reading the same old crap, and then I came across your web page. I can't believe I have been so stupid. I really wanted to be a good member of AA. Dammit.

I have been going to school full-time while working part-time, and the pressure, oh the pressure. I thought the point of being sober was to live my life and improve it. Oh no, I was catching shit for not attending enough meetings and not doing service work. Silly me, I thought I was doing so well.

I sent a link for one of your pages to my sponsor, and I told her that I would love to hear her honest opinion about it. That was 6 days ago — so much for follow through.

Thank you so much for the bucket of ice water that I needed to have dumped on my head. Sincerely.

Hello Lori,

Thank you for the letter, and I hope that you are doing well now. It sounds like you are — school full time and work part-time, and apparently 3 1/2 years sober — that's a life. It sounds like you are far from drinking yourself to death. And congratulations on your sobriety.

It sounds like you graduated from A.A., which is of course against the A.A. rules. They don't want you to graduate and leave them.

Now I can't really psychoanalyze you just from one letter, but I wonder, "Just who was it that told you that you were an alcoholic? Were you really an alcoholic, or were you just a teenager who was partying too much?"

Well, if you feel like you still need some kind of sobriety program, there are many things to choose from. Please let me point you to some discussions and the list of helpful things, here.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     My email was really substandard today.
**     I only won $500,000 in foreign lotteries today.
**     I usually average at least $12 million per day.
**     And not one single Liberian Colonel wants to put
**     $20 million in my bank account.
**     What a day.





Date: Thu, September 10, 2009 8:45 pm     (answered 21 November 2009)
From: "Ian H."
Subject: Deist/theist

Dear Sir or Madam,

I've been reading and quite enjoying your online book recently. It's nice to see someone taking the offensive to the insanity and superstition of A.A. However, I must quibble with one small point.

On this http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-religious_faith.html#refusenik page, you say:

Atheists don't say that, because if the electrons were created out of nothing, then *Something* — some "Higher Power" — had to already exist to do the creating. Theists (believers in a God) say something like that:

and true enough, they do. But it is more correct to say that deists *and* theists say such a thing. They are all arguing from first cause.

I'm sure you're not unaware of this, but I believe this small revision would go some way toward making your analysis all the more complete and devastating.

Your great admirer,

Ian H.

Hello Ian,

Thanks for the correction. Yes, we must not overlook the deists.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Zillions of new quarks created in Large Hadron Collider at Cern;
**     Scientists refuse to pay royalties to God.





[Tim's previous letter is here.]

Date: Sat, September 12, 2009 10:45 pm     (answered 21 November 2009)
From: "Tim J. S."
Subject: On Vitamins & Nichiren Buddhism

Hello,

Thanks for your reply. I erroneously thought you had said vitamins were not important, and I had you confused with Trimpey who said they weren't! Forgive me for this confusion.

Hi again Tim,

That's quite alright.

I take about 15 vitamin & food supplement pills a day. Rather than a single multi-vitamin, I take separate vitamin C (1000 mg.), vitamin A (500 mg.), a B complex vitamin, vitamin E, multiple minerals, fish oil, glucosamine & chondroitin, spiralina, ginko bilboa. And yes, they do make a difference.

Yeh, really. And it's so simple, when you think about it for a while. The name "vitamins" was made up from the words "vital amines". That is, essential amino acids, so essential that you will die if you don't get them. That makes them pretty darned important to me.

As to Nichiren. You had stated that in your experience with the Gakkai, you didn't hear about the "Historical Buddha", Shakamuni. Well, there are other Nichiren sects that revere him, and consider Nichiren to be a Great Bodhisattva. These include:

  • Nichiren Shu
  • Rissho Kosei-Kai
  • Kempon Hokke Kai
  • Honmon Butsuryu Shu
  • Honmon Shoshu

There are probably others. You can learn more @:

http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/

Okay, I'll have to check that out.

Although I practice in the "orthodox" sect of Nichiren Buddhism, I am one of those heretics they frown upon. I am not rigid in my beliefs as many lay people are. Besides my Gohonzon, I have in my altar area a pop-up Hindu altar and a dreamcatcher.

To-day it has been 7 months. Also to-day is the 26th anniversary of my mother's death. She died at the age of 59 from alcohol consumption and smoking, so this day was a reflective one for me. I'm 50 now and intend to live at least 45-50 more years.

Congratulations on your sobriety. Now you have a handle on it.

Anyway, thanks again.

As always,
Tim S.

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us!"
**        ==  George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)





Date: Sat, September 12, 2009 11:17 pm     (answered 22 November 2009)
From: Tim
Subject: If you are interested — mylifeasanormie.blogspot.com

Orange,

I've been reading a lot of online material about the cult of AA — I love what you do! I have decided to take a 365 journey — julie and julia rip off — using one of AA's most acclaimed thought leaders as the daily inspiration — Emmet Fox.

Should be fun. Please let me know if you would be willing to get the word out. I am embarking on a one-year journey to deprogram from 30 years of AA. Wish me luck!

All the best!
Tim

Hi Tim,

Yes, I'm willing to help get the word out, and good luck.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It was as true as taxes is.  And nothing's truer than them."
**       ==  Charles Dickens (1812—1870)






Date: Sun, September 13, 2009 10:37 am     (answered 22 November 2009)

From: "Ted B."

Subject: you are right

i have been struggling with alcohol and AA for a long time. Think about what they are saying: "this is the answer.... you can't win AND you do not even know you can not win."

How can that message help anyone? If AA were merely ineffective that would be enough to speak out against it .... but the truth is that it is positively harmful. So please keep on telling the truth, and I will also try to do the same.

your friend, Ted.

Hi Ted,

Thanks for the message and the compliments. And yes, I agree that the A.A. message is self-defeating. And it unfortunately occasionally becomes a self-fulfilling prediction. A recent correspondent introduced the term "nocebo", which is the tendency for negative things like bad health to happen because someone believes that they will happen, like somebody dying because he believes that he will die, which is how voodoo hexes work. It's the exact opposite of the placebo effect, where people get better because they believe that they will get better. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nocebo and The New Scientist)

Well, A.A. can have that effect too. "You are powerless over alcohol. You can't quit drinking by using your own willpower. Determination and intelligence are useless. You can't ever be cured. You are defenseless against triggers and sudden compulsions and mental blank spots. You are selfish and sinful. Your fate is jails, institutions, and death."

Well that's depressing enough.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**      telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**      and that your will power is useless, is not
**      getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**      With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.





Date: Sun, September 13, 2009 10:45 am     (answered 22 November 2009)
From: "Gary B."
Subject: The irony of James Woods portraying Bill W. (given that he'd starred prominently in an anti-cult movie only 7 years earlier!)

Hi Orange

Here's a thought: isn't it somewhat ironic/amusing that James Woods, who is celebrated for his portrayal of Bill Wilson in My Name is Bill W. (and if IMDB is anything to go by, is quite proud to promote A.A. with that TV movie) had earlier filled the role of a ferocious cult deprogrammer in the movie Split Image (1982)?

Here's a link for the latter movie (quite a decent film, actually — recommended):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084714/

What I find really weird, Orange, is the fact that the irony evidently completely escaped Woods himself (which is strange, given that he's apparently quite a bright bloke).

?????

Best regards

GARY

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the note. I didn't know that about James Woods.

My first guess is that James Woods and James Garner probably actually believed that the script that William Borchert wrote was true and historically accurate, rather than a complete fantasy and a piece of cult propaganda.

I mean, it's really easy to get fooled. I also believed that A.A. was the biggest and best self-help group in the world, until I learned more about it. All that I had ever heard was the propaganda that constantly praised A.A. and bragged that it had saved millions of alcoholics.

And then there is the tendency of believers to just not hear the negative facts about their favorite cause or religion. People have an unfortunate tendency to reject evidence that conflicts with their currently-held beliefs. That reaction is almost automatic. Often, it's very hard to get a true fact through the shell. Cult members develop a real blind spot.

Anyway, I'll have to check out that move "Split Image".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         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: Mon, September 14, 2009 2:14 pm     (answered 22 November 2009)
From: "bob r."
Subject: Have you contacted dick b history site about these pieces of information or aa world services.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Hello Bob,

Yes. Or rather, Dick B. contacted me several years ago, when my pages first went online, and he sent me a bunch of his books.

We tend to agree about the basic historical facts but disagree about their interpretation. He sees the Oxford Group in Akron as a gift from God, rather than a gift from the Devil, and while he has a less-than-stellar opinion of Bill Wilson, he sees Dr. Bob as nearly a saint — a real Christian — rather than an insane child abuser.

Oh, and I'm sure that A.A. World Services knows about these pages, but they choose to ignore the information.

So it goes. Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "When in the company of deluded people, keep your
**       own counsel."  ==  Buddha





Date: Mon, September 14, 2009 6:19 pm     (answered 22 November 2009)
From: "Megan S."
Subject: thank you and question(s)

Hi There:

I am writing b/c I have read your manuscript several times over the past few years.

I do not want to say to much about myself personally other than maybe to tell you just a general story... I have been sober for almost two years. In my early twenties, I was sober for four years, relapsed for eight, and now I am back on track.

I believe that I am sober b/c I finally left my abusive marriage and am on some medication that makes me less depressed than normal. I think, though I have made several important contacts in AA, that AA has done me more harm than good. I believe that AA set me up for a relapse.

And I have met some of the most predatory people I have ever met in my life in AA. I have seen suicides in AA that I believe would not have been suicides had they been in a more sane, loving, nonjudgmental environment. Mostly, as a vulnerable woman, AA has been pretty difficult.

I began to believe in God when I started AA years ago, but I am realizing now that this was just my time to start believing in God. Reading your manuscript helped me with this particular realization. Thank you.

I am wondering where you got so much of your information from. I wish you had footnote and such. How did you research all of this. I am always searching for information on how to save myself from the thing that initially saved me. Really, I think it was me who saved myself. I would love to hear from you.

Sincerely,
Megan

Hello Megan,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well now. Congratulations on your years of sobriety.

I have some footnotes here and there, but I usually use direct quotes now, where the source is listed immediately underneath the quote. That makes the page more readable, and it's easier to see where stuff comes from. You don't have to be constantly looking up and down, back and forth, between the information and the footnotes.

Or, I use an HTML link to the source of the information. I feel that footnotes are obsolete, just a hangover from the dead-tree editions. Links were impossible with printed books, but they sure are possible now. So you can cross-reference and cross-link everything.

All of the sources are listed in the bibliography, here.

How I researched the Orange Papers was, I used everything from the excellent local municipal library to the local college library and medical school library to inter-library loans and the internet. Also, I bought all of the "conference approved" A.A. books and publications that I could find in local used book stores. And a lot of Hazelden propaganda too. I even bought a few historic magazines and books off of eBay. And some readers have sent me things, too. One woman even sent her entire old A.A. library after she quit A.A. Thank you. People have also sent CD's of their research.

And then I had to read that stuff. And I'm still doing it.

About other sources of help and helpful sobriety techniques, here is a link to discussions and lists of what people have found helpful to get and stay sober.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Cast off the shackles of this modern oppression and
**     take back what is rightfully yours, because as William
**     Shakespeare never wrote, 'Life is but a bullring, and
**     we are but matadors trying to dodge all the horns.'"
**        ==  Matthew Clayfield





[Gary's previous letter is here.]

Date: Wed, September 16, 2009 12:44 am
From: "Gary N.
Subject: Letters 135

I would like to respond to your response. After that, it is doubtful I will ever bother to write to you again, you'll be relieved to hear.

Having accepted AA without question for a long time, I came across sites like yours and other information that criticises AA — Bufe, Ragge, Peele, Fransway, all the usual suspects. Naturally I questioned my former unthinking acceptance. I asked: have I been the victim of a cult? The end result of this lengthy period of internal conflict is the simple answer: no.

Your response to my letter implies that there is some contradiction with the process of accepting AA, feeling a deep sense of belonging in AA, then questioning whether that sense of acceptance and belonging is valid, in the light of new discoveries about AA. There is no contradiction — M Scott Peck said we must constantly revise our point of view when faced with challenges to that point of view (although he worded it differently). I have emerged from this process still believing in AA — a belief itself you will no doubt perceive as worthless because it has no foundation in your interpretation of some very carefully selected facts.

Hi again, Gary,

I don't know where you got the impression that I was criticizing someone questioning the A.A. dogma in light of new evidence. My criticism of A.A. is that they simply refuse to change anything — the Big Book, the 12 Steps, the slogans, the theology, anything — in light of new evidence. A.A. is a superstition-based program, not a fact-based program. (I won't call it a "faith-based" program, because they insist that it isn't a religion.)

You accuse me of only using a few "very carefully selected facts." Well, let's see some facts. When I ask for real facts, like the actual A.A. cure rate, or the actual cure rate at 12-Step-based treatment centers, the A.A. promoters always change the subject and dodge the question, or lie with qualifiers.

So without any qualifiers like "who really tried", or "who thoroughly followed our path", what is the actual A.A. success rate?

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

Perhaps I implied in my letter that all I do is live and breathe AA. That is hardly the case. I attend two, maybe three, meetings a month. In the meantime I do not sit rocking on a bed in some halfway house, counting down the minutes to my next cult fix. Your suggestions on how to build a life outside AA were so arrogant and patronising they made me laugh out loud ("LOL" in teenager text / chat-room speak). There are considerable demands on my time (most of them welcome) from family, work and friends. Maybe if I had more free time I could spend it sitting around in parks, taking photographs of geese and giving them cute names? Does that qualify as an "ad hominem attack"?

Okay, so you have a life outside of A.A. That is good.

And yes, that qualifies as an ad hominem attack.

Anyway, as you say, have a good life.

You too.


Date: Thu, September 17, 2009 12:41 am
From: "Gary N.
Subject: Fw: Letters 135

Sorry, that was bad — I read it back after I'd sent it and realised I sounded no better than all the other fanatics on your letters pages. All I've done is prove you right. I'm sorry — I respect your work and your efforts.

PS: this isn't part of some step ten — I just saw that what I'd said was low and wanted to apologise.


From: "Orange"
Subject: Re: Fw: Letters 135
Date: Thu, September 17, 2009 9:56 am

Well, do you want me to print it or delete it?

*               Agent Orange              *
*          [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      http://www.orange-papers.info/      *
** "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: Wed, September 18, 2009     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "Gary N.
Subject: Letters 135

Do whatever you want to do.

Okay, I'll print it, not to embarrass you, but just to wrap up this chain of letters, and bring it to its logical conclusion. Your angry reaction isn't entirely your fault — that's what cults make people do, and how they affect peoples' minds. I am reminded of a quote by Jeffrey Schaler, in his paper on "Cult Busting":

The stronger the evidence challenging the truthfulness of the group ideology, the more likely members of the cult are to either lash out in a more or less predictable fashion, fall apart, or disband into separate cult colonies.

Cults convince people that they really need the cult, and that without the cult they will lose their ticket to heaven. So cult members have a huge emotional investment in the cult, and in believing that the cult is right about everything. Challenging the cult ideology and dogma makes the members feel personally threatened. Deep down inside, they know that they are walking on thin ice, and when their illogical beliefs are challenged, they can feel the ice cracking beneath their theological feet. So they lash out in what they feel is self-defense.

So it goes. Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**      == Anonymous





Date: Wed, September 16, 2009 6:19 pm     (Answered September 17, 2009 10:04 am)
From: "Ian M."
Subject: Help

Dear Orange,

My girlfriend was arrested and released for a PI. She agreed she was wrong and was willing to accept the terms of probation, except she is required to AA meetings. We are both atheist and refused to participate in the AA cult. She told the probation officer she wanted to attend another program (SOS, RR, Women for Sobriety), but he became very rude and verbally abusive, insisting that she only go to AA or go to jail for 6 months. To make a long story short she has another court date because she refused to sign a paper saying she would attend AA meetings, so there is a real possibility of jail. I was wondering if you could put me in contact with somebody who may be able to assist us in this matter.

Sincerely,Ian

Hi Ian,

You didn't say what country you are in. The USA? If so, the ACLU may be able to help. Forcing people to attend the services of a cult religion is blatantly unconstitutional.

See this link for a list of court decisions that A.A. is a religion:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-spirrel.html#judges

Also Ken Ragge's web site for the text of court decisions:
http://www.morerevealed.com/courts/index.html

You might also want to check out the book "Resisting 12-Step Coercion", link here:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-top10.html#Resisting_12Step

If I think of anything else, I'll send it.

Good luck.

== 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.





May 16, 2009, Saturday: Day 16, continued:

Carmen's Family, with 5 Canada Geese goslings
One of Carmen's siblings is flapping its tiny wings. Those little goslings are so cute when they practice for taking to the air. That is the mother with the babies clustered around her, and Carmen is nestled against her side.

Carmen's Family, with 5 Canada Geese goslings
Carmen's family
The mother is closer to the camera.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





Date: Sat, September 19, 2009 2:14 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "John A."
Subject: Thanks

Terrance,

I want to commend you on your excellent site. I have been reading the Orange Papers for several years now, and it has allowed me to realize I am not alone in my feelings and beliefs regarding 12-Step philosophy. I don't believe there is a single page I've overlooked. I really get a joy reading the Letters section..... but your whole site is a wealth of excellent information.

I first got familiarized with AA and NA about 20 years ago.... drank the kool aid, and shook my pom-poms. Although I always had this gut feeling that something just wasn't right, and quit going after receiving my first year coin. I remained alcohol and drug free for about 13 years all of my own accord. I never gave any credit to AA or NA... I came in completely clean and sober. I realized soon on that AA is not a "quit drinking" program, but an attempt to convert one to religious beliefs. If you have religious beliefs or are willing to convert to religious beliefs, and commit to abstaining from alcohol, you're "in the right place". However, those of us who have no beliefs in the supernatural, or a belief in a god or "Higher Power", will likely find the 12-Step philosophy severely lacking in sustenance. I will never understand how it's purported that non-believers can possibly "work the program" by imagining anything they want to make up in their head and call it their "Higher Power", and do it with sincerity and complete honesty to themselves.

I am a non-believer when it comes to God, gods, or godesses and found it very difficult to hear tales of how individuals attributed their ability to quit drinking and drugging to some "Higher Power". I felt like the token black man at a KKK rally when I shared my personal beliefs and how they clashed with the AA philosophy. I became a "project" as a prospective sponsee but never gave in to the "read the big book, get a sponsor, and work the steps" routine. I have read the Big Book and the 12 x 12 numerous times find both books to be condescending, irrational worthless crap. I recall being told rather harshly "There IS a god.... and it's NOT you!" amongst other similar bullshit sayings.

Anything I said became a target for ridicule so I just sat quietly with a smile on my face and contemplated just how illogical and irrational a group of people could be. I could never make sense of the suggestion that "maybe I just needed to find a different meeting". A rather absurd suggestion since I had attended numerous different meetings in several different cities and concluding that they're all the same shit... just a different stink.

I despise the line "your best thinking got you here". No... my bad choices got me there and my best thinking was deciding to disassociate myself completely from the 12-Step religious cult.

I was also subjected to the "you're thinking too much" and "you're too intellectual" lines of bullshit. Excuse me?!?! You have to be an idiot and a complete dumbshit to subscribe to this crap??? I guess so! Well... no thanks! I'll let the dumbshits participate in their quackery and move ahead with my life. I could go on and on with other examples... but I'd just be repeating the same legitimate horror stories that others have experienced as well.

Anyway.... a divorce about 7 years ago led to some deep depression, and a relapse blossomed into a full blown re-addiction to alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. This resulted in me going through close to $200,000 in savings in a little more than 12 months. I ended up penniless, homeless, and living out of a shopping cart on the streets of LA due to some real poor choices on my part. This is what happens when you give in to the Lizard Brain monster.

I woke up one day and simply decided to quit for good this time. It wasn't pleasant or easy at first due to the pains of withdrawl... but it can be done. Others need to be aware that you do not need to surrender yourself to the ineffective Treatment Center Industry and/or become indoctrinated into a religious cult to quit poisoning yourself with nasty chemicals. I'm also happy to say that I'm tobacco-free for about 3 years now! Your site helped with that decision as well. It's hard to understand how the folks that are so devoted to quitting alcohol and other drugs can rationalize their continued use of tobacco! It's insane! I find it amusing that they say in NA "we abstain from all mood and mind altering substances". No they don't! Stop smoking tobacco and see just how "mind and mood altering" that substance is when you try to quit!

Today, I am once again productive in society, successful and making a great salary. I choose to live a quiet, content and happy life. For me, the "miracle happened" (laughs)..... I decided to quit poisoning myself for life.... and doing it without any association or participation in the funky 12-Step religious cult . I'm free of the psychobabble, pseudoscience, quack medicine, and faith-healing-bullshit-snake-oil these folks peddle on the uninformed.

Speaking of bullshit.... were you aware that Penn & Teller's show "Bullshit!" use a snapshot of your website in their Season 2 "12 Stepping" episode? It's your Cult Test Page. I was watching the episode the other day and it happened to catch my eye!

Thanks again for the wealth of information your website offers! Regardless of what the 12 Steppers claim in the hate letters you get regarding how your website serves no good purpose, but actually can harm or kill an alcoholic, I rest easy knowing that there is absolutely no logical basis for these claims. They're simply the brainwashed soldiers in Bill Wilson's cult..... and it's kinda sad.

Best regards,

John in So Cal
(please do not use my e-mail address)

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well now.

You make a zillion good points, and of course I agree, so I won't just repeat them all.

I missed that image on Penn and Teller. I love their satire of A.A. and the 12 Steps, and watch it again every so often for another laugh. But I totally missed any reference to the Orange Papers. So I'll have to look more closely.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It is very common for vice to masquerade as virtue."
**        == U.S. Judge Dennis Jacobs,
**           of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals of New York





Date: Sat, September 19, 2009 6:22 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "John H."
Subject: Thank you

Hello Orange,

I want to send you a heart filled thanks from the Bay Area, CA.

I am two years out of meetings and almost nine sober.

Your site has helped me, thank you.

John

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter and congratulations on your years of sobriety. And I see that we must have quit at nearly the same time, because I just had my 9-year anniversary. It really is great to be healthy and clear-headed, isn't it? So here's to a new life.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Medical researchers in Chicago say binge drinking can decrease
**      bone mass and strength because alcohol affects bone health genes.
**        ==  UPI, Oct. 24, 2008





Date: Sun, September 20, 2009 8:34 am     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "Mark S."
Subject: Hello Orange!

I was reading "The twelve biggest lies of a.a." and was wondering what the true intention of the writing is, to discredit or credit AA? Please advise, it makes it hard to understand without an actual foreword from the author.

Hi Mark,

The answer is, of course, to discredit and debunk myths and lies. Perhaps you didn't notice that each one of those false statements has a link to information that disproves the statement.

And actually, the title, "Lies", is the dead give-away of what the page is saying.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Stupid people like to delude themselves that while they may not be clever,
**  they were at least able to compensate with feelings and insight denied
**  to the intellectual.  Drivel, Ashley thought.  It was precisely this
**  kind of false belief that made stupid people so stupid.  The truth was
**  that clever people had infinitely more resources from which to make the
**  leaps of connection that the world called intuition.
**  ==  The Stars' Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry





Date: Sun, September 20, 2009 8:42 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "Theresa"
Subject:

I take it you dont believe in God... Read the new testament and them go back and look how you decided to rewrite the steps.. Now thats insane the devil has you and you dont even know it. My life has been turned around completely and its good. Its about people helping other people. Look up selfish and self centered. You will see yourself in that definition and sabotager. Sorry you feel unloved and your empty inside. Work the twelve steps and you too can mind your own business and not take away from others happiness. Get that devil off your back you will walk alot lighter in your shoes.

Hello Theresa,

You are mistaken. I am not an atheist. I just don't believe in crazy irrational cult religions like Scientology, the Moonies, or Alcoholics Anonymous.

And no, I'm not going to "work the 12 Steps", which are really just the practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's fascistic cult religion. Their biggest effect is to mess with the minds of newcomers and make them into properly confused cult members. No thanks.

You want to talk about the Devil? I'd love to. Why don't we have a new religion for alcoholics that is based on these revelations that Bill Wilson apparently received during a séance?

"Hi! My name is Saint Bonyface. I'm here to give you cosmic wisdom.

  • First off, screwing all of the pretty women who come to A.A. for help is really okay. I mean, come on now, you are a man after all.

  • Then stealing all of the money is okay too. You deserve it.

  • Lying about A.A., and exaggerating the success rate, is okay, because A.A. is such a wonderful organization that saves so many alcoholics. The end justifies the means.

  • And worshipping anything as your Higher Power is really okay too. Jesus or Rock or Doorknob Almighty or Hitler or Satan — who cares? They are all just the same. One god is just as good as another.

This is Saint Bonyface, signing off. I'll talk to you again tomorrow."

Now who do you think "Saint Boniface" really was?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*      What, man! defy the Devil: consider, he is an enemy to mankind.
*       ==  William Shakespeare  (1564—1616)





Date: Tue, September 22, 2009 8:53 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: James
Subject: Reporting violations

First, I would like to thank you for your work. We need more sites like this to expose this AA cult (and others) that coerce people with religion and other BS. It's criminal!

But I desire to report a rehab organization named WYSTAR in Sheridan Wyoming that is receiving it's clients from the local courts as reported in the Sheridan Press. Apparently, these folks that have been convicted of DUI and other drug related offenses are mandated to attend this AA cult 12 step facility under the threat of jail. What can I do to stop this violation of their constitutional rights. This coercion must stop!

And by the way, Mr. Orange. I was once processed through this "mill", as well.

Thank you for your help.

Keep up the nice work! I was once a soldier with Apple and placed bumper stickers on AAer cars that read:
"something about the program never felt quite right. Now I know why... AAdeprogramming.com"

James

Hi James,

Thanks for the letter and the activism. Sorry to take so long to answer; I'm backlogged.

We were just talking about resisting coercion in another letter, so let me point you to it for the list of links, here.

And you are quite right, foisting a dishonest cult religion on sick people is grossly illegal and also immoral.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Sitting around talking about being depressed with depressed
**      people does not make you better."
**         ==  NPR (in Portland, Oregon), 1:23PM, 23 November 2009





Date: Wed, September 23, 2009 2:56 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "Michael C."
Subject: Two young people have tragically lost their lives due to alcohol overdose

Please take the time to read about these senseless deaths

September 23, 2009

Dear Circle of Trust Members and Friends,

Sadly, on the eve of National Gordie Day, The Gordie Foundation has learned of two alcohol-related deaths this past weekend.

Nick Barnes, 15, of Onalaska, Washington, died of alcohol poisoning Monday, September 21, after "drinking a deadly amount of alcohol at a party over the weekend." Nick was a sophomore at Onalaska High School. (Read more). link here to rs6.net

18 year-old Joseph "Joe" Dado of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, died Sunday, September 20, after leaving a fraternity party alone early Sunday morning and falling 15 feet to his death. Joe was a freshman at Penn State. (Read more). link here to rs6.net

We extend our thoughts and prayers to both families as they cope with their losses. The Gordie Foundation will remain steadfast in our mission to educate students about the dangers of alcohol.

Sincerely, The Gordie Foundation Staff

Questions? Contact:
Michelle LeGrande
Communications Coordinator
[email protected] (214)823-0235, ext. 25

Michael

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the input. I think it's good to reflect, now and then, on the tragic cost of alcohol. I don't want to dwell on it all of the time, but I don't want to forget it either. At moments like this, I sometimes think, "There but for the grace of God go I."

At times, I ask how I could be lucky enough to get out alive.

And then at other times I ask how I could be so unlucky as to get stuck with alcoholism in the first place.

I don't think there is any easy answer to either question. And maybe it wasn't luck.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        Error is a hardy plant: it flourisheth in every soil.
**          ==  Martin Farquhar Tupper 1810-1889





Date: Wed, September 23, 2009 12:50 pm     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "Edward Q."
Subject: AA As A Cult

Hi: A Orange:

Seems That You Have A "REAL GRIPE" About AA.

A Sober Member Of Alcoholics Anonymous

Please Respond Ed Q

Hi Ed,

Yes, I think it is illegal and immoral to foist quack medicine and cult religion on sick people. It is also unspiritual. I guess you could call that a "real gripe". Why, you could even call it "a resentment".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   How many diseases does modern medicine treat
**   with a "spiritual cure"?
**   If you get cancer, does the doctor tell you
**   to join the Pentecostals and speak in tongues?
**   If you get diabetes, is the fix to join the
**   Mormons and eat chocolate cakes?
**   So why, if you get "alcoholism", should you join
**   Alcoholics Anonymous and conduct seances to
**   hear the voice of God giving you work orders?





Date: Thu, September 24, 2009 8:59 am     (answered 23 November 2009)
From: "etp1017"
Subject: Hi Orange

Thank you for your website. I agree with 99% of the information you present there. I appreciate your intelligence and your courage. You have helped me de-program myself from the AA mindset and I am truly grateful.

A couple of points I wanted to bring up with you which, I believe, was the cause of my relapse and changed the course of my life for the worse is the simple issue that people in AA are mentally unstable. They came in mentally unstable and AA does not help — in fact it turns them (some of them) into religious fanatics, as you know.

When I was in AA I was basically using it as a place to go and a place to meet friends and romantic partners who did not drink alcohol or do drugs. I did not take coins, do the steps, have a sponsor, or speak either by raising my hand nor at the podium. I was just there waiting for the meeting to be over so we could go out to eat and have some fun. This seemed to work for me for quite a while until I encountered some personal problems relating to my career and a few romantic relationships which did not pan out well (what did I expect I met them in AA).

In other words I was hurting and my therapist at the time was not very good. I understand now that not all therapists are good. What I found was that my AA friends were so needy themselves that their lack of support and their needing me as support combo plus my other personal issues drove me out of town, and once out of town... I drank because I wanted to get as far away from AA as possible which is the bottle.

The issues I don't see talked about anywhere (unless I have not found it yet on your website) is all of us AA members doing therapy with one another. I have been hurt by that on both sides of the coin. A real therapist gets trained to detach from their clients, does not share their own personal information with their clients and there are laws and boundaries protecting both the client and the therapist. This we don't have in AA. Even without having a sponsor I had friends who thought it was their job to input their opinions on me when all I really needed was someone to listen. Their advice was horrendous but at the time I could not see that and it caused me a great deal of harm. On the other side of the coin I have had three or four people (AA friends) calling me up on a single day telling me all their problems. I really am not qualified to help them. I don't have that kind of time to take those calls and why in God's name are they calling me? Because I was in the cult and that's what Cult members do...."help" each other.

Also another AA issue is the issue of getting desensitized to emotional problems. In other words, I had gone to so many meetings and heard so many horror stories about childhood trauma and abuse, knew so many people on meds for this and that mental illness that I got used to it and, in a way, it became "normal". So when I was at a very low point in my life after the breakup of my long term relationship I got involved with someone who was diagnosed bi-polar (although I am sure she was borderline and mis-diagnosed as they often are) and this relationship (although only lasted 5 months) cost me a great deal of money and my emotional health. This is why AA is dangerous — you have the insane helping the insane with no legal protection and no training.

Thanks again for your actual help via your website.
Peace to you,
Evelyn

Hi Evelyn,

Thanks for bringing up some very good points. And I hope you are feeling better now.

One of the fatal flaws of A.A. is the idea that untrained, unscreened, unexamined, unlicensed, and unqualified people are used as mentors, counselors, and therapists for the newcomers. The old-timers imagine that they know something because they have a few years in A.A., and have memorized some dogma and slogans, and they believe that they are now qualified to advise other people in how to live and get sober.

The results of such a bad assumption have been disastrous. Many people have relapsed after getting bad advice. Other people have died or committed suicide after being told not to take their medications. And others have committed suicide because they were depressed from too many years of A.A. confessions (5th Steps), and labeling themselves "defective" and "powerless" and "insane".

A.A. is really just the opposite of a self-help group.

I just used all of my good signatures on that subject. Oh, what the heck. I'll use one again.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**      == Anonymous





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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters146.html