Letters, We Get Mail, CCX

Date: Fri, December 10, 2010 7:17 am     (answered 17 December 2010)
From: "Frank M."
Subject: Today in 1934

Dear Orange

Thanks to your website I have now celebrated my 3 month anniversary of leaving AA.

I just got the following text from my ex-sponsor:

"On Dec 11th 1934 Bill W had his last drink. At 2.30pm he was admitted to Towns Hospital. Ebby visited him again and told him what he had done. Bill had the "white flash" and on Dec 18th he left Towns, headed down to Sam Shoemaker's Mission to help others and the work goes on. We trudge the Road, Happy Destiny, may God bless our path."

I couldn't resist replying with:

"In the hospital Bill was given loads of drugs, saw the white light, started his cult religion, 13th stepped numerous vulnerable women, and died because God didn't want him to stop smoking!"

Thanks for opening my eyes!

Best wishes


Hi Frank,

Thanks for the laugh, and thanks for the thanks. I'm really happy to hear that you are doing well.

So have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing
**       and the image of fulfillment.
**        ==  Malcolm Muggeridge, "Down with Sex,"
**              The Most of Malcolm Muggeridge (1966)

Date: Fri, December 10, 2010 2:56 pm     (answered Fri, December 10, 2010 4:02 pm)
From: "Ulf
Subject: orange-papers in Swedish


I would like to express my deepest appreciation for your site and I just love what you're doing to inform and let people know the truths about AA and 12-step programs. In the future I would like to do something similar and have a Swedish site on this so I'm asking whether you see any chance for me to use some of your material or if I can refer to it as sources of reference. Again I think you've done quite a marvelous job in gathering all this information and there would be no need to have another site on this if it wasn't for the reason that I think having a Swedish translation would be beneficial as many Swedes are not comfortable with studying in English. Swedes are very good at English in general but I think that a lot of people with problems with abuse and addiction lacks the scholastic levels needed sometimes to study complex matters and facts in English.

All the best


Hi Ulf,

Yes, go for it. The more people who are telling the truth, the better.

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: Sun, December 12, 2010 1:59 pm
From: "Ulf"
Subject: Re: orange-papers in Swedish

Hi Orange,

Great — thanks! I absolutely agree.

All the best


Date: Tue, December 7, 2010 2:46 pm     (answered 17 December 2010)
From: "Josh F."
Subject: Please consider

When you say that people "Drop out" of AA or that it has a failure rate of 95% — %100, are you accounting for people who come back" For example, it would seem to me that just because somebody celebrates a 2-year chip and not a 3-year chip did not necessarily "Drop out" or "Fail", but that they simply may have had one drink or a binge only to willingly come back to AA.

My point being, 95% — %100 percent, as well as your method of counting chips of certain lengths of sobriety is inaccurate.

Somebody could be in AA for over 10 years, drink only 5 times during that whole 10 years while remaining in AA, but only pick up a 2 year chip at the most.

Following this series of events, one person could picked up 24 hour, 30 day, 60 day, 90 day, 6 month, 9 month, 1 year, 18 month and 2 year chips 5 times. That's 45 chips given out to the same person without that person ever receiving anything greater than a 3 year chip.

Yet if that person is still in AA and IS HAPPY ? then they did not fail once at AA and have alone accounted for 44 of your other failures over the course of 10 years.

Ultimately, success in AA is measured in how happy a member is. If a member is not happy in AA, they are free to leave and proclaim AA a failure for themselves. Whether AA has failed for others, regardless of whether they've drank or not, is up to them.

It sounds like AA did not work for you, which is fine. I truly hope you have stayed sober and it sounds like you have. Congratulations. But perhaps you should formulate a better measure for success than just the chips that are handed out at meetings. Sometimes it takes 5 years just to get that 1 year chip.


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Hello Josh,

Thanks for the letter.

I clearly said that such calculations were not scientific or 100% reliable. And we have errors on both ends, but they tend to cancel each other out:
At the start, there are people who pick up several first-day "Just For Today" coins. And at the other end, we have people who are so proud of themselves for making it for 10 or 20 years that they are driving all over town, from one meeting to another, and picking up a coin at each meeting so that they can hear the crowd cheering for them again and again.

Nevertheless, the sales figures for those coins still reveal an enormous drop-out rate.

Then, this is the key sentence in your letter:

Yet if that person is still in AA and IS HAPPY ?

There is a very nasty two-lettered word in that sentence: "IF".

When we examine the facts, like properly-done medical tests, we see that there are a lot of people in A.A. who are not very happy, because A.A. has been clearly shown to increase the rate of binge drinking, and increase the rate of rearrests, and increase the costs of hospitalization, and even increase the death rate in alcoholics.

Yes, even the death rate. And that comes from one of the Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous, Prof. and Dr. George E. Vaillant, who found that Alcoholics Anonymous produced a zero-percent improvement in sobriety, along with the worst death rate of any way of treating alcoholism that he studied. He spent nearly 20 years shoving A.A. treatment on sick alcoholics, and in the end, the best that he could say for Alcoholics Anonymous was,

"...there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease. ... Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."

And that is the "better measure of success" that you were asking for.

By the way, those dead people are not free to leave A.A. and find something that they like better.

In addition, even though it has not been formally measured and documented, I think a good case can be made that A.A. also increases the divorce rate and the suicide rate in alcoholics. So it is highly questionable just how happy those repeatedly-relapsing A.A. members really are.

By the way, the fake evidence that you supplied is known as Proof By Anecdote. You told the story of one repeatedly-relapsing guy who is allegedly still very happy in A.A., and that is supposed to be evidence that all of the A.A. failures are really very, very happy in A.A., even if they do lose all of their Brownie Points every so often. Nope, sorry, but I'm not buying it. That is not valid evidence of anything except that there is one guy who keeps on drinking every so often.

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

P.S.: On rereading your letter, I realize that your "Proof By Anecdote" was not even an anecdote, because it was not a story of a guy who actually existed. It was a hypothetical argument. You were just imagining that there might be one repeatedly-relapsing happy A.A. member somewhere — some guy whose liver and brain are still okay in spite of continued binge drinking for many years. Again, that is a very questionable giant "IF".

What you are assuming there is that people who relapse after years of sobriety will just immediately quit drinking after a short binge and then go back to collecting more years of A.A. sobriety coins, again. There isn't any evidence for that. Do you have any? My personal experience is that 22 years ago, I quit drinking for three years, and stayed perfectly sober for all three years, but then "just had one" at a party, and ended up drinking for another 9 years before I really quit again. Yes, went out for 9 years. So it is not a safe assumption that A.A. members who relapse and lose all of their sober time will immediately quit drinking and go back to collecting more sobriety coins, and will spend the vast majority of their lives sober in A.A.

And then of course there is the question of why your hypothetical A.A. member is repeatedly relapsing all of his life. Why doesn't the A.A. program work for him? Why doesn't he stay sober?

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**     indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**     world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
**     efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
**     mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
**     of proper separation between church and state."
**     == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**     The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose goslings
The family with orphans

The beach is busy today. On the right we have the Family of 9 and Carmen's family, and on the left we have the family with the adopted orphans. And then there are a whole bunch of other geese around.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Wed, December 8, 2010 1:16 pm     (answered 18 December 2010)
From: "David C."
Subject: Notes on NA

Hello Orange,

I am a drug addict. I am also an intelligent, and very well educated scientist. I don't have any sense of a high-power working in my life, and I believe that the job of staying clean is mine alone. I do happen to believe that I am not responsible for my addiction; I don't mean in the sense the I am not responsible for taking drugs — I am — but rather that I am not responsible for the things that happened in my early life that left me feeling a need to fill some empty place within me, that I then chose to fill with drugs. I simply had that empty space, however, I was unwilling to face that, so I turned to substances that made me feel better: a quick fix. I also believe it is possible that there are genetic components at work, a genetic predisposition to addiction, much as you suggested for the BBC video about the alcoholic monkeys on that island (was it Tobago or Trinidad? I can't remember, now). For instance, I wonder if my almost instant love affair with opiates is a consequence of lowered number of opiate receptors or lowered production of endorphin type molecules in my brain. When I took opiates, it wasn't really with the intension of getting high, as much as it was that I actually felt "normal". I felt like I could function properly. I didn't need much, I wasn't taking them to the point of nodding off, I took a little and went to work, then I took a little and went to bed. In fact, it was only health problems that made me stop taking them at all. They were playing havoc with my liver; since I was extracting my opiate from its natural source, there may have been any number of other things in it, such as pesticides, plus the other alkaloids the plant contains. I can't say the same of meth...I just liked it.

I attend several NA meeting a week, more for support than for anything else. I tried going to AA meetings, but found that I could not relate to the people there, and found much more commonality with the people in NA. Additionally, I was put off by the introductory response in AA, that if I had a problem other than alcohol, I should go elsewhere, as though alcohol is not a mind-altering drug. Even in NA, there are things I don't agree with, and that make me uncomfortable, particularly when talking about the "god" thing.

I don't feel powerless over drugs and alcohol. In fact, I really dislike that opening phase in AA "Remember that *we deal with alcohol*, *cunning*, baffling, powerful"; this is an anthropomorphic view point. Alcohol is a combination of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, in a 2:6:1 ratio (CH3CH2OH); it is a volatile, flammable, clear, colorless, liquid, with a molar mass of 46.07 g/mol, a density of 0.789 g/ml, a freezing point of -114C, and a boiling point of 78C, etc. Nothing more, nothing less. It has no intrinsic power over anyone, except what we give to it. A better, and far more accurate statement might be: "Remember, we deal with the human mind, cunning, baffling, powerful." In fact, the simple act of deciding to get and stay clean shows that I do have power of my addiction, though I would agree that I am powerless over the fact that I was addicted to drugs. That is just the reality. I am also powerless over the fact that I can never smoke meth again, without suffering the its negative effects upon my mind and body. That is just the reality of it.

That being said, I do like going to NA meetings. I feel that it is a good support system. I live in a small town, near Sturgis SD, and I go to meetings with fairly down to earth bikers, and people who are similar to those I used with. I understand them, and they me. There are few in the group I would consider radical in any way, about the the program, religion, or anything else. This may not be typical of NA, but from my experience, NA is not nearly as radical as AA. I have a sponsor, a crazy biker, who has NEVER pushed me around, or told me what to do. He is just a friend who understands my occasional bouts of depression and anger; a guy who I talk to when I get a craving, and who will listen when I need to rant, and who can usually offer some reassurance that if I can stay calm, act rational (in other words, don't punch a hole in the wall, dude, that will just get your "old-lady" even more pissed off at you), and talk it through, things will probably work out. He often reminds me of something I once told him: that when I get a craving, it is because I wish to avoid some conflict in my life — I don't like conflict. So far, he's been right.

I have worked the steps up to step nine, and I am working on that step now. While, I agree with you, that under the wrong conditions, and with the wrong people, this could lead to serious issues. For example, the manic-depressive working with a narcissist who pushes him around to satisfy his own personal power needs. In my case, though, some of these steps proved useful. There was no groveling or wallowing in guilt and shame. There was only a simple acknowledgement that I had lived my life in a less than honorable fashion, and an examination as to the reasons. To be fair to myself, these were things I was already working on, but it did help me to organize my thoughts on them a little better. I think that making amends for them will help strengthen my relationships as well. These family members and friends already know that I did them harm, and they still love me, so I think that by a simple acknowledgment to them that I am aware of the pain that I caused them will go a long ways to repairing that damage. Again, there will be no groveling and wallowing in guilt and shame, just a simple statement like "when I was using, I ran out of drugs, so I stole your vicodin. It won't happen again." As to the higher-power thing, well as they say "take what you need and leave the rest."

I also have two sponsees. They are younger than me, and I can see something of myself in them. However, I work VERY hard and not relaying this to them. I don't want them to get the erroneous perception that I am condescending to them. From the very beginning, I told them that I am not going to save them, nor take credit for whatever they accomplish in staying clean. They do the work, and they earn the credit: Not me! Not NA! Them! We do work the steps, though not in a severe and groveling fashion. Rather, we just talk about our lives, and how bad things had gotten, why, and what we can do about it — and what to do if we feel that we might use again. I tell them at the beginning that if they need someone to "lead them to Jesus" they might want to get a different sponsor. NEVER have I told a sponsee to get down on their knees and pray. NEVER has my advice been to "let go and let god". And NEVER do I tell them what to do — I have enough trouble knowing what I should do.

When I look at the steps in NA, obviously I look at the first step first. I am glad that NA changed the wording when adopting it from AA: "I am powerless over my addiction" makes more sense to me than "powerless over drugs (alcohol)", though even that bothers me. I am not powerless over drugs, alcohol, or addiction. I *am* powerless over my past actions — no matter how much I wish it was different, it is what it was. I did what I done. I do agree that my life HAD become unmanageable. But I *can* and now do manage my own life. All I needed to do was to stop using drugs, and start accepting responsibility for managing it.

Step 2 — I don't know — it might work for some, but not for me. I was not insane, though some of my actions were "wacked out". I don't believe that a power greater than my self will do it for me. I must do it. However, after spending many years telling religious people how stupid they were, I finally came to believe that I have no business telling people such a thing. Maybe there is a god, they can't prove it, but I can't disprove it.

Step 3 — I don't understand at all. I have no concept of how to accomplish such a thing, much less who to turn my will and my life over to. None of it makes any sense to me at all, so I just simply ignored it, and went on.

Steps 4 and 5 were in my experience really one and the same. These two steps were beneficial to me, but perhaps not in the way Bill W. had intended them. For me, it helped me to see that the guilt and shame I had always felt were WAY out of proportion to the wrongs I had actually committed — WAY, WAY out of proportion. This allowed me to see that I have a severe problem with self-respect, self-confidence, and feeling guilty and responsible for actions which were not mine. This gave me insight into things I needed to work out with my therapist; which I am, and I am much happier now that I am no longer the world'd self-proclaimed martyr. I feel MUCH better.

Steps 6 and 7 don't make a great deal of sense to me. I am ready to be rid of my character defects, but I have to let go of them. They are maladaptive patterns of behavior that I initiated at some point, for some reason, that worked for me for some time, but now don't. They are conditioned responses to a self-perceived cruel and ugly world. The biggest problem is my perception of the world as being cruel and ugly (and it is in some ways, but there is so much beauty to find as well, that the cruel and ugly parts are very small, by comparison). No one nor thing can do this for me. I must do it for myself. Its really that simple. If lying is one of my character defects, then amend it by not lying. If I have a problem with stealing, then don't take what is not mine. Simple! Couldn't be any simpler!

Step 8 and 9, to me, are valid things to do. Make a list of who I harmed and make amends, if possible and appropriate. I believe that this will help me to fix some of the damaged relationships in my life — relationships that are important to me. I see no problems with this, so long as the stress is not so great that I use over it, which I won't, since I decided that I am not going to use again. (I should note here that the desire to use was never "removed". I'm a junkie, I like the feeling of opiates and amphetamines. I love the feeling. I sometime want that feeling again, sometime I even crave it. I watched an episode of "Breaking Bad" — a show about a high school teacher who makes meth to pay for his chemo therapy — and I found myself actually salivating, like poor Pavlov's dog (Does anyone happen to know that poor dogs name?). But I am still not going to use, because I know where that will take me).

Step 10 makes sense to me: "I fucked up, sorry, I will actively work to correct that" — and then do actively work to correct that. Makes sense, if you're wrong, admit it! Pretty clear, really.

Step 11, well, whatever puts the cream in your Twinkie, dude. Don't work for me. I truly don't believe that I will ever have a conscious contact with god — just myself and the other lifeforms around me. This is enough for me.

Step 12: well, when I was young, I was put in Christian schools, and these crazy fuckers actually had us going from door to door with religious tracts, trying to "carry the message". Oh, how I hated those fucks. So, "carrying the message" is not something I do. I will, however, sit down with an addict who actually wants to get and/or stay clean and talk, and listen, and help, if possible. That's the extent to which I'll go. No further. If you want help, I'll help, if possible, and if you are willing to take responsibility for yourself.

I don't really know why I've written to you. I suppose it is because I found what you had to say interesting and thought provoking. Some of what you say, I can agree with, some not, but it did get me thinking about some of the aspects of AA that I did not like, and compared them with NA. In my experience, NA is not nearly as militant as AA, but it may be that if I were to go to a big city meeting, I might feel differently. I agree with you that I can take the credit for getting clean, but I have to offer some of the credit to the people in NA (not the program itself, but the people in it) for helping me stay clean. The program itself did offer me some steps that helped me to sort through some of the wreckage of my actions, much like a fire inspector will try to reconstruct how a fire started, and develop guidelines that could keep it from happening again.

Anyway, thank you for all of the interesting information, the perspective you have shared, and for offering me something to ponder. I hope you have a great day and a wonderful Christmas,

David C., PhD

Hello David,

Thank you for the letter. And congratulations on your clean and sober life. You sound like another member of the "The Newcomer Rescue League".

You make a bunch of interesting points. I couldn't agree more about the fact that ethanol is a clear hydrocarbon solvent that is not "cunning, baffling, and powerful", because it doesn't have a brain at all.

About your reactions to various drugs: One thing I know for sure is that different drugs hit different people in different ways. What is a dangerous addicting drug to one person is nothing to another person. I, for example, tried both smack and cocaine and just walked away from them. Just not my cup of tea. And I never liked speed. Too jittery. But alcohol and tobacco are so addicting that I almost died from them. Go figure.

I also agree that introspection and straightening out your thinking is a good thing to do. And cleaning up the past, where possible. It lowers the paranoia level.

What you did not mention is, things like seeing where in your childhood somebody messed with you and damaged your ability to feel pleasure and well-being. You should read about the study of the Cerebellar Vermis.

I suspect that you will also like the The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster, which I find very helpful for avoiding relapses.

I think you might also like SMART — Self-Management and Recovery Training — you might get something good out of that, too, but I don't know if they have any meetings in out-of-the-way places like Sturgis SD yet. But then again, they might. You can see the list of links for things like SMART here.

Have a good day and a good life. And Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you would know what nobody knows,
**     just read what everybody reads,
**     just one year afterwards.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals (1866)

Date: Wed, December 8, 2010 6:41 pm     (answered 18 December 2010)
From: "michael s."
Subject: Pic

I have attached a pic you might enjoy. This was posted on Facebook a while back and I saved it just for you! Lol. I was told this was a picture taken inside the Triangle Club in Reno Nevada. It just about says it all, don't you think?

Size: 86 k
Type: image/jpeg

A.A. meeting room

Hello Michael,

Thanks for the picture. Yes, that really does say it all. And they still maintain that A.A. is not a religion. It really takes some strange twists of logic to keep a straight face while proclaiming that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The old religionist cried out for his God.
**     The new religionist cries out for some god to be his.
**       ==  G. K. Chesterton, "Spiritualism", All Things Considered (1908)

Date: Thu, December 9, 2010 9:55 am     (answered 19 December 2010)
From: "jamie g."
Subject: SMART

Greetings orange hope your are well.. Its been a long time since i last contacted you hope you have settled into your new place? Things over here in England are going well especially with SMART some meetings we hold have been getting in attendance of up to 25 people plus which is really a great achievment and the feedback from members has been absolutely brilliant !! The only critics have been yes you guessed our know-it-all friends at everybodys favourite cult AA. Well theres a surprise LOL.. I wouldnt mind i have not once ever slated AA and its members in a SMART group. For one its not productive, its not what SMARTs about and TBH orange i really cant be bothered getting into any kind of conflict with them people because as we know its always a one sided argument. I find that they really are not interested in your points of view if it doesnt fit in with theirs.. But anyways on to a good note i am coming up to 2 years sober on the 18th of dec a day before my real birthday and you know something this living sober lark aint so bad after all !!

I have to say the more i read your stuff and i have to admit i never get bored of browsing through your material even though i dont agree with 100% you could say i agree with 99% but more importantly what i do agree with is the FACT that AA is harmful and AA is a terrible terrible form of treatment (if you can call it that). You know the more i reflect back to when i was a member there the more i realise just how mentally ill i really was with all the nonsense they were giving to me. As i think ive mentioned before in a letter to you my underlying disorder to my drinking is OCD which thankfully through REAL professional HELP and REAL medicene i seem to have it pretty much under control !! I really cant imagine which i'm sure one exists is how the heck could a 12 step group help people with OCD? I mean my OCD went through the roof as a result of the 12steps of AA — the constant questioning and the constent analyzing and they have the cheek then to say "keep it simple stupid" hahahahaha.....

Well i know some of this might sound like a bit of a ramble but it is soooooooo reasuring to know that there are other people out there who share the same views as myself about the absolute madness that is AA. The bit i like the most is as you said if this is a REAL disease then sponsors are breaking the law by treating this disease without a license and also practicing medicine without a license by telling sponsees to give up their doctor-prescribed tablets. i mean really this kind of thing should be taken serious — i mean really serious — it should be an offence!! I heard one once and it was before i came into SMART recovery and that was by somebody from smart who i spoke to on the phone which was something like this.... Bear in mind i was just breaking free from the cult so my head was a complete mess here goes.......
ME...."Yeah but this is a disease"
GUY ON PHONE " A disease this aint no disease"
ME "yeah but ive been told this is a disease. i have a disease"
GUY ON PHONE "listen jamie if this is a disease as you say, then its the first disease you have ever bought from a pub or a off license boy. i bet the landlords having a right laff at you"

And you know what Orange that conversation changed EVERYTHING from then on pennys started dropping slowly but surely and to this day i'd love to shake that mans hand!! WOW SMART yeah i believe its gunna be the way forward it deserves to be the way forward it does exactly what it says on the tin and i always tell people "SMART wont keep you sober" and they look at me and i tell them "its your job to keep sober. We're here to support you and help you on the way with some very basic but effective tools but the hard part is down to you hence the 'Self Management' of SMART, and once the message sinks with people you can actually sort of sense the relief?? Anyways orange i think ive gone on long enough. Once again i hope you are in good health. Hope the geese are ok and have a great Christmas and a brilliant new year. Your material really has been SUCH A BIG HELP and i arnt trying to blow the wind up your arse there niether. LOL it really has so thanks sooooo much and keep up the brilliant work because we need people like you around !! Best wishes and to a sober christmas your friend from over seas Jamie :)

Hi again, Jamie,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your years of sobriety. And thanks for running SMART meetings over in England. And yes, I'm doing well too, and healthy, and everything. And the geese are well too.

So have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The real advantage which truth has, consists in this,
**     that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once,
**     twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will
**     generally be found persons to rediscover it.
**       ==  John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1895), 2

Date: Fri, December 10, 2010 10:50 pm     (answered 19 December 2010)
From: "Lisa B."
Subject: AA and Geese — My Personal Experience

Dear Agent Orange, Your website validates every bad feeling I've had about AA during the last four months. I actually discovered (and read part of) your website before attending my first AA meeting. I went in spite of what I had read hoping it wasn't true. I was hoping you were going to be wrong. I thought AA was a harmless organization designed to help people by people just like me. Yeah right.

I had issues with AA from my very first meeting. I met a lady there who had been attending AA meetings forty years. FORTY years. It was then I realized AA does nothing to prepare you for living a sober life WITHOUT them. They want you to be dependent upon the group and the organization FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. I wasn't searching for a new religion when I went to them. I was searching for a way to stop drinking without going crazy.

For awhile I convinced myself it was the alcoholic in me not wanting to receive help. "Maybe I am looking for an out. Maybe I want to continue going down the path I am on. Maybe I don't want to stop drinking." I can no longer turn a blind eye to what is really going on.

I find the whole sponsorship concept to be downright scary. Let's see, pick a total stranger out of the crowd to guide you through the steps. A person you do not know to tell your innermost personal secrets to and to take advice from. I gathered from the meeting speak that a lot of the sponsors had more than one sponsee. It seemed like some of them were collecting sponsees because they had so many. Some of the sponsees really freaked me out when I heard about the Svengali-like hold their sponsors had on them.

They will make everything all about you during your first meeting or two if you tell them it's your first, second, or third meeting. A lot of people will offer to sponsor you or tell you to get a sponsor quickly and work the steps. They will give you their phone numbers and want yours. They will call you to get you to keep coming back.

I do not understand why I need AA when I have God in my life. Why does AA have to be the middleman? Why can't I cut out AA and deal with God directly? Why have they changed God's name to Bill?

I will give AA credit where credit is due. They did help me to get sober. But it has been my will and determination that has kept me sober. After about a month I had too many questions and too few answers. Plus the bad gut feeling I walked around with. My intuition was/is telling me this is not a good thing. I had a lady (who wanted to be my sponsor) tell me the reason I was still craving after a month was because I didn't have a sponsor and was not working the steps.

I am still craving four months of sobriety later. It has to do with the way my brain is wired. Nothing more. Nothing less. I've always liked to get high.

I also have to question why it's okay for people to use nicotine, caffeine, and food the way they do at meetings. All three are bad for you. Two of the three are known killers and will kill you given enough time. The bags of chocolate I see being passed around at the meetings are huge.

By the way, I loved the pictures of the goslings. Have you ever seen the size of an adult goose's turds? The reason I ask is because I live on a lake. The geese come here during the Winter. I hate it when they shit in our yard and the shit gets on my shoes. My seventy pound black lab mix doesn't shit as big as those birds do. She is terrified of the geese. She won't go near them but she will roll in their shit.

Thanks for the website!


Hello Lisa,

Thank you for the letter, and the compliments. And I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. And congratulations on your sobriety. Of course I don't need to tell you that you are doing it yourself.

Yes, the whole sponsorship thing is really disturbing. And that is one of the key characteristics of a cult. It's in "The Cult Test". The question of mentors or sponsors is here and the answer for A.A. is here.

Oh yeh, and then you wrote about No Exit, which is another standard cult characteristic. You have to stay in the cult for your whole life.

And you also mentioned, Newcomers can't think right, and Newcomers Need Fixing. And Instant Community, and Instant Intimacy, and Intrusiveness. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

About the geese: Yes, having a lot of goose shit around is just the price of having geese. They eat grass more than anything else, which is a low-calory, low-protein diet, so they have to eat a lot of grass to get their nourishment, which means that they also produce a lot of shit. Fortunately, goose shit isn't that bad. It is basically just chewed-up grass. It eventually soaks into the ground and builds up the topsoil. But I understand how some people get grossed out by the goose shit all over the lawns. Me, I just ignore it, and make sure I don't put my towel or blanket down on it when I sit down.

I can understand how your dog is afraid of the geese. Canada Geese are normally very mellow and easy-going, but they really don't like dogs, because foxes and wolves and cayotes have been eating geese and goslings for millions of years. So the geese will attack dogs if they think they can win the battle. And they aren't above ganging up on a dog, either. They think that two or three or four angry ganders on one dog is just fine. (It is possible that the reason that your dog is afraid of the geese is because they already attacked the dog when you weren't looking.)

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nothing is more tiresome than a super-annuated pedagogue.
**       ==  Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907), 2.3.

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Dragon Boat
The Portland Navy: Canada Geese and Dragon Boats

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, December 11, 2010 5:22 am     (answered 20 December 2010)
From: "Duchess"
Subject: Hello Orange

Dear Orange,

Thank you for all your analysis of the AA programme & all the techniques for critical thinking, a faculty I realised I had abdicated within the first 2 years of my attendance at AA, although I had plenty of help with that. Lots of good-cop/bad-cop stuff & appeal to vanity & some other horror show stuff. Those robot/clone droids sure know which buttons to push. The dehomag is never sleeps.

Saw a piece on "Sober Recovery claiming that the slogan "Think Think Think" was an old IBM rallying call from the 1950's.

Here they call the meetings "traps" as in "See you round the traps" Also "You now belong to the club of those with no rights" is a common saying. Everyone here is either atheist or Bill Wilson all purpose generic, one-size-fits-all God. Your own concept as long as it's not Christian — that's not tolerated. But hey who wants to be tolerated!

I've now joined Amnesty International.

I believe in God.

Actually I have never believed alcoholism was a disease; when I shared that, that I did not believe in the disease concept, a oldertimer got very apopleptic, told me off & threatened, that "I 'd better start toeing the line or else!" Towards the end of AA for me, I asked my sponsor if "It was a sin to save one's life" (it was mostly a rhetorical question). I suspect that in her eyes "self preservation" was indeed a sin or it would be played that way. But let's face it, even Jesus Christ sometimes took evasive action when he was here on earth.

So many other agencies are all over AA today.

I am 2 months free of AA meetings. This is weird & awful but I had to sit on my hands to stop myself going to meetings. I have always done 3-7 meets a week for 21 years. S'pose that's why.

My credulity was shattered when I found that AAWS had sued a guy in Germany for giving away BBs. I actually couldn't believe it at first, thought someone was loading misinformation into my computer. Everyone I asked from AA either knew nothing, didn't want to know or dismissed it & made excuses re AAWS (your point "It is AA" was very helpful when dealing with the AAdroogs who tried to claim separate entity justification.)

Then 2 people from NY GSO & a trustee came to my city to, well hold a public meeting, so I stood up & asked them whether they had indeed sued the guy & they said "yes they had sued him," then the GSO woman (Phyllis) proceeded to justify that the German Govt had made AA do it, etc., etc. "I only work here, I swear I never knew," "I was only following orders", man it's all so familiar, isn't it?

Not one single AA spoke to me about this, either in the meeting forum or afterwards. I left that public meeting & I have not returned. Something is very wrong in AA. I think maybe, worse than a cult. Your website is showing only the tip of the iceberg, comprehesive although it is. I read Lifton's stuff, the 8 points to a cult in early 90's & eugenics was pointed out to me in my 1st year & Buchman.

I hope you r real
cheers for now

Hello Duchess,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you have broken free and are able to think for yourself. Congratulations on your new hard-won freedom.

So have a good day and a Merry Christmas now.

== Orange

*              [email protected]            *
*          AA  and  Recovery  Cult  Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/           *
**     During my eighty-seven years, I have witnessed
**     a whole succession of technological revolutions;
**     but none of them has done away with the need for
**     character in the individual, or the ability to think.
**       ==  Financier Bernard Baruch

Date: Sat, December 11, 2010 6:02 am     (answered 20 December 2010)
From: "Anthony V."
Subject: Staten Island firefighter accused of groping woman during Alcoholics Anonymous meeting | SILive.com


Sent from my iPad

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for the link. All I can say is, "Yuk! Oh, yuk!" The idea of being groped by that guy is not appealing.

I thought that this was the most interesting paragraph:

Marsh is in no danger of being removed from AA, no matter the outcome of the legal process. Instead, the matter will be dealt with during Marsh's group sessions.
"We don't condone illegal behavior, but no one can be kicked out of AA," said a public information staff member from the General Service Office of AA in Manhattan, who also maintained anonymity.
"This is about the whole group coming together and very, thoughtfully, carefully, meticulously deciding whether the person's behavior is a threat to group unity," the spokesperson said. "Our first tradition is maintaining the unity of the group."

Right. We can't harm the "unity of the group", can we? No matter how many girls get molested, nobody will get kicked out of A.A.

But honestly, what about the effect on women's attempts to get and stay sober? How are women supposed to work on their sobriety issues when they have to spend all of their time defending themselves from the other A.A. members?

Now I see why some women quit A.A. here in Oregon and established a Women For Sobriety chapter. They were just tired of the guys hitting on them, and wanted a group where they could really talk about their alcohol problems without a dozen guys vamping on their bodies.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.

Date: Sat, December 11, 2010 4:21 pm     (answered 20 December 2010)
From: "Dianne K"
Subject: Question

Is all of the information published on your website available in book form? I could sit here and read for hours, but reading from a book would be much easier.

By the way, I quit drinking ALL BY MYSELF.


Hello Dianne,

Congratulations on your sobriety. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

Alas, there is no dead-tree edition of the Orange Papers. What I recommend is that people download the whole thing and burn a CD. You can get all of the archive files that make up the web site here, and instructions for burning a CD are here.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you think you can, you can.
**     And if you think you can't, you're right.
**       ==  Business executive Mary Kay Ash

Date: Sun, December 12, 2010 12:00 am     (answered 20 December 2010)
From: "David C."
Subject: Survey of your responses

Good evening Orange,

First let me offer my apologies for writing yet again, without waiting for a response from you first. Its just that I have been reading your site for four days straight, and have had some interesting insights as a consequence. I'll get to my latest in a second, but first, to interject a little humor, I have come to realize that:

  • 1. I am powerless over reading your website, and that my eyesight has become unmanageable.

  • 2. I have come to believe that an optometrist greater than myself may be needed to restore my now damaged vision to 20/20.

  • 3. I am soon going to turn my will and my life over to the care of sleep, as I understand it, because I can't see straight any longer.

  • 4. I will soon make a searching and fearless inventory of my bed.

  • 5. I will admit to god, myself, and you the exact nature of my fatigue: (I'm tired of reading all these letters)

  • 6. I just can't make it to 12 steps, without collapsing, so I am not going to work the rest of this program. Perhaps this means I have not reached bottom yet. Does this make me a dry insomniac?

Anyway, I was thinking that as a measure of the serenity of AA/ NA members, it might be interesting for you to use the outrageous amount of email you have posted as a way to conduct a survey. For example, you could divide your email into two main categories; email from true believers and email from skeptics, and then divide the true believer email into those who would simply try to debate you but ultimately wish you well, and compare them to those who maliciously attack you and wish you ill, such as those who have told you to "enjoy your DUI" and hope you "die a horrible death", and called you nasty names, etc. This would allow you to then run a statistical analysis on the serenity factor (SAA) of AA members: percentage of well-wishing AA members to caustic hate-mongers. A correlation analysis of length of sobriety versus SAA would be very illuminating. You might then conduct a comparison of the serenity of true believers to skeptics (though this would be far more likely to be biased, since your sample set may have too much self-selection bias). You could even utilize p-values (as you were erroneously (not erogenously) criticized for not understanding its meaning somewhere in the first 15 pages of letters). Just a thought for using this vast amount of information in a more revealing way.

I have really enjoyed your capacity for debate. You really don't need to go to such lengths with some of these letters, these people show their ignorance of logical thinking all on their own, but it makes for great entertainment. However, at least for a week, I am going to attend AORA (Agent Orange Readers Anonymous) meetings, and try to abstain from reading your site for a few weeks. Its no wonder you are just now answering November mail. You have serious stamina, brother (or sister). Keep up the good work.

I would like to correspond more, if you are interested.

Oh well, have a great day anyway! ;)~

David R. C. IV, PhD

Hello again, David,

Please don't apologize for the letter, that's funny.

I love your statistical study. I don't know if I will get around to correlating all of that information, but just from a casual glance at the letters, I can tell that some A.A. members have been eating too many Fizzies® — they really pop a cork when disturbed.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Angry men are blind and foolish, for reason at such a time
**     takes flight and, in her absence, wrath plunders all the riches
**     of the intellect, while the judgement remains the prisoner
**     of its own pride.
**        ==  Pietro Aretino, letter to Girolamo Quirini,
**              Nov. 21, 1537, tr. Samuel Putnam

Date: Sun, December 12, 2010 7:56 pm     (answered 20 December 2010)
From: "Dale P."
Subject: what's your angle

I can' t for the life understand why people have this desire to tear AA down — just don't come to it — that simple — if you got something that works — well — write about that — don't try to raise yourself up by tearing something down — of course there is the alcohol industry and religion — that's about money and exclusive religions. There are also those who did not seem to make it work — but my friend its like pornography — if you don't like it — don't watch it.

As for me I spent a good 30 years trying to make alcohol fit — I was a hopeless drunk — the Jesus wand had been waived over me for years as the shit life I was leading kept adding to the tape running in my head — forgiveness was pretty keen in the life to come but not so keen if you were the holder of my bad checks. It was only the 4th — through the 9th that put me back into life and shut the tape off — that's physics my friend. Somehow this bothers religions — got to get a piece of pie ....

So shrinks get your doe and write a prescription — all you preachers — kill a few more drunks — ( by the way I have never seen any pastor — or mine of some 10 years cure one damned thing — no cancer — not heroin addiction — not nothing — when they can't they call it God's will —

Write a book and have a drink in your mansion.

Everyone pay for what they use — therapy — shrinks — medications — and AA — that's physics my friend — God's law.


Hello Dale,

The reason that I do this web site is because A.A. tells a lot of lies and harms a lot of people with those lies, so somebody has to tell the truth.

For a partial list of those lies, try reading The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A. and The 12 Biggest Secrets of A.A..

Then, if you are really interested in learning about how well A.A. works, you could read The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We [Americans] suffer primarily, not from our vices or our
**     weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by
**     reality, but by those images we have put in place of reality.
**       ==  Daniel J. Boortin, introduction to The Image (1962)

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Last updated 3 August 2011.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters210.html