Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXXVI

Date: Fri, May 6, 2011 8:30 pm     (answered 8 May 2011)
From: "remi c."
Subject: Hello terrance,

Hello Mr Orange!

My name is Remi, I am 30, I live in Paris, France.

I have had a drug addiction problem (alcohol and marijuana), ruining my life for the last 12 years, that finally led me to join a NA meeting last sunday (may 1st 2011). That first meeting was emotionaly intense for me. I felt very warmly welcomed and instantly had the feeling that this would "cure" me from my "uncurable disease". As I really want to do anything to keep on not doing drugs anymore ( I quit a week before but started to drink on a daily basis ) I decided to trust this program, and, as they recommend, go 90 meetings in 90 days.

But as a very paranoiac person I was spending my nights (falling asleep when you stop drugs can be a hastle) on the internet trying to find information about NA as a cult. I had the feeling that something was wrong as I did my second and third meetings. The "let's pray alltogether thing" kinda freaked me out. But as a sincere individual I asked them about that and they told me it was normal not to accept the God thing at first and that I just had to keep on coming because "it works". But because I am a very scientific oriented person I like the scientific randomized longitudinal controlled studies method to validate an hypothesis .

Since I am french i was trying to find information in my language, but everything I would find would be information provided by NA themselves : "it works" "come back"

The fact is I was wondering : since it works, why am I hearing people saying around the meetings, "I am in the NA program for years but I went back to drugs several times during these years" — and others answering because "you did not do the 12 steps" or mostly "because you did not come to the meeting anymore". But it seemed totally unlogical way of thinking to me. I thought : It's not because they did not come to the meeting that they went back to drugs, it is because they went back to drugs that they did not go to the meeting. It's not because you play basketball that you will become tall, it is because you are tall that you will be likely to play basketball. This meets what you say about the green room that would cure people because people in green room cure.

So I had the (holy fuck) good idea to look for information in english since I understand it not too bad and I ended on your site, I was so happy to read your facts and point of view about this NA/AA programs that match my intuition. You got me out of their trap. I did 6 meetings in 6 days, I had this growing bad feeling about the whole thing but I was afraid to come back to drugs so I was hanging to this 12 steps hope program (only for 6 days, but still the brainwash had started to take over my fragile newly unaddicted brain).

The only good things about this program in my opinion is to accept that you have lost control on drugs and that you should not think that you can control it anymore so you have to totally stop doing any drugs. That you should apologize to the people you could have hurt in the past. That you should share your bad experience about drugs because it could prevent a kid from starting this shit.

Ok, this said, I send you a huge thank you from france where there is absolutly no information about your excellent analysis of this crime so monstrous, so evil, and so sick, that it is basically unbelievable ( quoting your What's not good about AA ).

If you ever need help in your fight for the truth you think I could provide (french translation for example) you can contact me I would be pleased to add my brick to your wall against this worlwide terrible scam.

Today its been 6 days I did not do any drugs or alcohol, and I now know NA has nothing to do with it. I did it. Now I feel strong enough to hold it like that. It took time to come to this wise decision, and I will surely not swap an addiction for another.

Remi, addic..... no.....FREE!!!


PS : At my 6th meeting (today) I asked to speak for the first time and told what I just told you, but I understood that there is nothing to do for already lobotomized people here, they were just smiling at me and, when I had finish speaking, I just had the "thank you Remi". Sad.

Hello Remi,

Thank you for the letter and all of the compliments, and the report from France. It sounds like you are doing well. You understand the situation and I think you will do just fine.

I don't know if you found it yet, but I have a letter that lists a bunch of links to what other people and I have found to be helpful for getting and staying clean and sober, here: How did you get to where you are? I suggest that as something positive to read, just so that it isn't all negative.

Have a good day, and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Common sense is not so common.
**          ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 7:51 am     (answered 8 May 2011)
From: "kent m."
Subject: AA

Sir, I cannot, but, wonder if you ever attended an AA meeting in your life or just read literature. AA is not a religion and it is only for people who "want" to try it. We do not advertise in press, radio or films, nor do we get involved in outside issues.

Anyone can write a negative article like you did. They exist in almost every "organization". We do not save drunks, nor do we get them sober. We give them an opportunity to try a different method of running their lives. Obviously their own thinking has failed them. Those who come to scoff are free to leave.

We are a program of attraction.......not promotion


Kent M.
AA member

Hello Kent,

I've been to many A.A. meetings. Please read the introduction, here.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a program of attraction, it is a program of promotion and propagandizing and coercion. A.A. does everything in its power to promote A.A. There is an endless stream of propaganda: TV programs like the Hallmark "My Name Is Bill W.", and the recent "When Love Is Not Enough", which were some real fairy tales that had little to do with the truth. And then there are the plugs in other TV shows and movies that all proclaim that A.A. is wonderful and is the best way to recover. Cagney and Lacy, Hill Street Blues, ER, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew, The West Wing, The History Detectives... And then 28 Days, Clean and Sober, The Days of Wine and Roses... Look here for longer descriptions of some of those things.

Then there are the magazine articles and books that again parrot the misinformation. Try reading these:

Then read about all of the people sentenced to A.A. in one small Massachusetts town in just a few months, here.

Lastly, Alcoholics Anonymous most assuredly is a religion. It makes a lot of superstitious crazy claims like that if you confess your sins enough, "God" will like you and will make you stop drinking. That is not only a religion, it is a very heretical religion. Read this: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If I say something like, "You know, penicillin isn't really very good
**  for treating staphylococcus infections, and it is totally useless against
**  things like MRSA staphylococcus and anthrax", people respond in a
**  sensible manner like, "Yes, you are right. If somebody has infections
**  like that, they are better treated with Keflex or dicloxacyllin or
**  streptomycin — anything but penicillin."
**  But if I say, "You know, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't really very good
**  for treating alcoholism," the A.A. true believers scream "You are
**  heartless and immoral! You don't care how many alcoholics you kill!
**  You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety!"
**  That alone is proof that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult religion,
**  not a cure for alcoholism.

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 2:47 pm     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "kent m."
Subject: Re: AA

tell me how you solved your drinking problem. Are you reasonably happy with life?


Hello again, Kent,

Yes, I am happy with my life. It isn't perfect, and I don't have everything I want (namely, greater mental and spiritual development), but it's good.

I just got asked that same question, "How did you do it?", recently, and I answered it with everything that I could think of, so I'll point you to the answer here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right
**      way, at the right time."
**          ==  Arnold H. Glasgow

Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 8:55 am     (answered 8 May 2011)
From: "barry j."
Subject: Hi Orange

Hi Orange Terrance,

I have been following yor site off and on for around six years. You amaze me, in your tenacity for truth. Your bent has not seemed to alter since I first ambled into Orange in 2006.

Thank you for speaking out about lies and deception.

I do wonder why you are not brushing up with some of our yaky talk show hosts.

Thanks again
Northern BC

Hello Barry,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And thanks for the Geese too. (I'm talking about the Canada Geese that inhabit our lakes and rivers.)

I have been invited to an interview with one Internet radio station, which I will probably get around to doing. But the TV shows don't seem to want the truth. They want sensational stories of dramatic recoveries through religious or "spiritual" programs. They just seem to have that bias. They want the standard American myth: The bad boy does all kinds of outrageous things until he crashes and "hits bottom". Then he sees the light and "gets God" and starts living the good life. That is what they consider proper entertainment. They don't seem to want any other story.

Similarly, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal contacted me a few years ago about doing an article. He interviewed a bunch of my correspondents, and collected a bunch of information, and wrote it up. But then the WSJ editors would not publish the article. They seemed to feel that recovery without expensive 12-Step treatment programs was not relevant to the business world.


Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  This battle never ceases to amaze me. People seem to be much
**  more inclined to believe what they hear from non-experts
**  because it's what they'd rather hear.
**     ==  Prof. Jennifer Francis, of Rutgers University,
**            speaking about global warming
**         New York Times, Dot Earth, "Experts: Big Flaw in
**           Will's Ice Assertions", 27 Feb 2009
**  (And "recovery" seems to have the same problem.)

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 7:06 pm     (answered 11 May 2011)
From: "barry j."
Subject: Re: Hi Orange

Thanks for the reply Terrance,

And the geeses are a cool common denominator. At this time of year I have hummingbirds right outside my oceanview window. They come every year at this time, and will "perch" in a dead snag right in front of me and a neighbour.

As far as your being interviewed by mainstream media... I think they are well paid by multi corporations to bury truth. Same way as they coddle the political stripe that feeds them. Oh well the cat can't stay in the bag forever. The internet interview sounds great. I heard Stanton Peele on with Kenneth Anderson a while ago. That was a nice break.

Than you again for all the hard work.

Barry j

Hello again, Barry,

Funny that you should mention hummingbirds. I love those things too. Several years ago, I (or we) had the good luck to find a little hummingbird that was laying dying on the sidewalk one evening, and I took it home and nursed it back to health. And fell in love with the little thing. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera at that time, and do not have a single picture of it. And it was beautiful, too. I could have gotten some great pictures, if only... The story is here.

One friend says, "Terry, you can't bring all of Mother Nature inside your house." No, but I can try.

And I'm looking around for a hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds are around here now. I saw my first hummingbird of the year just a few days ago, just a little ways down the street.

About the interview, yes, something good might come of it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    I would give nothing for that man's religion, whose
**     very dog and cat are not the better for it.
**       ==  Rowland Hill

May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 3:56 am     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "Denise O."

Dear Sir,

I read your paper.

My name is Denise; I'm an alcoholic.

51, white, female, married, middle class. NOTHING in the past has helped me, except ONLY the care and love of other concerned members, who know exactly how I feel when it comes to booze.

Maybe it didn't work for some, but it works for me. I am sober and I love life. I couldn't do this on my own, and I too thought AA was just a bunch of hoo-hah. Until absolute desperation drove me to it.

So I'm one person, just one individual, but am telling the truth. And I'm a better, richer soul than I have ever been. Therefore it works for me.

Thanks for reading!

Denise O., Palm Bay, FL

Hello Denise,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you have gotten a grip on your compulsions and you are feeling better now.

Nothing in your letter shows that A.A. actually works. You drank until you were so desperate that you quit. Welcome to the club. Millions have done it that way. That includes me. The fact that you also went to some meetings of a club at the same time does not show that the superstitions of the club did anything good. It is all fine and well that you get some feelings of companionship from the club, but that is not "treatment" for "alcoholism", or "something that works".

It is not a matter of "Maybe it didn't work for some..." When A.A. was properly tested, it didn't work for anybody. The success rate with A.A. was worse than the success rate without A.A.: Getting no A.A. yielded a lower rate of binge drinking, and a lower rate of rearrests, and a lower death rate.

To say, "I went to A.A. and then I quit drinking, so A.A. is responsible for me quitting drinking," is the same broken logic as this: "Susan went to church every Sunday and prayed a lot. After a while, Susan got pregnant. That proves it: Going to church and praying makes girls get pregnant."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A recent review by the Cochrane Library, a health-care research group,
**     of studies on alcohol treatment conducted between 1966 and 2005 states
**     its results plainly: "No experimental studies unequivocally
**     demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or TSF [12-step facilitation]
**     approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems."
**     We're addicted to rehab. It doesn't even work., By Bankole A. Johnson,
**     Sunday, August 8, 2010
**     http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080602660.html

Date: Sun, May 8, 2011 8:45 am     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "Julia"
Subject: sad for you

I hope you find happiness. I hear only anger in your words. A.A. Works for some people, some it doesn't. Why fight about it. You seem to be a very smart person with a knack for writing. Instead of bashing A.A? Why not bash sex offenders or bad politicians or any other extremely negative energy vibration? So A.A. didn't work for you...so what...move on. You can do greater good than you are doing by creating instead of destroying. Get over it.

Hello Julia,

Thanks for the concern, but I am really quite happy now. I have 10 years of sobriety, and have not even smoked a cigarette in 10 years. I am also free of all cults, thank God.

Your claim that "A.A. Works for some people, some it doesn't." is just plain wrong. We were just discussing the same thing in the previous letter, here.

Why "bash" A.A.? Well, because A.A. is a hoax that harms more people than it helps. A.A. does everything from raise the rate of binge drinking to raise the death rate in alcoholics. A.A. also raises the divorce rate and suicide rate in the sick people who go to A.A.

And that's why I write what I do.

Now if you dispute what I'm saying, why don't you present us with some properly-conducted medical tests of Alcoholics Anonymous that demonstrate how well A.A. really works? I described how to do a proper Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study here.

Have a good day.

== 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: Mon, May 9, 2011 7:44 am     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "Martha H."
Subject: Your Forum

I am glad to see your forum is up and running. Can you please find a spam filter because the spamming is very annoying. I would suggest asking Friend the Girl or MA over at Stinkin Thinkin about how they manage to stay spam free.


Hello Martha,

Thanks for the note. Yes, I agree that the spam is very annoying. I have to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day deleting it.

I know how other people are keeping the spam off of their systems. They are using things like the Drupal anti-spam module. Unfortunately, it turns out that it works with version 6 of Drupal, but not version 7, yet, which is what I installed so that I would have the latest and greatest version of everything. I cannot go back to version 6 without blitzing the whole forum and starting over, and erasing everybody's postings. So in the mean time, until the Drupal guys get the spam filter working, I am doing a few other things:

First, I just had to change the registration procedure. Previously, people could register and they would be automatically approved when they answered the email that the forum sent to their email address. But a Russian spam-bot was hammering the system, and creating hundreds of new logins, and posting one spam message per login. Now, that won't work. But I have to hand-approve each new registration, which is a hassle.

And then I am just cancelling accounts and erasing the spam as fast as I find it. I think that most of it will disappear soon, now that the spammers cannot just mechanically create new logins and spam messages all night long.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     An actual recent spam email that advertised a diploma mill:
**     "Obtain a Univesrity Dergee based on your professional experience.
**     article related to technology in education"

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 7:55 am     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "Mary"
Subject: I'm an AA member that appreciates your site

Dear Orange,

I am a current member of AA, been sober in AA since 1992, and I LOVE your site! It is an amazing compilation of valuable information and I am grateful to have found it, and other AA-critical sites as well some years ago. AA folks that curse at you need to chill!

I attend my homegroup and participate there, and find it to be a liberal meeting as opposed to the hard-line kinds, but have also gained a huge release from 'step fear' by reading your site and other AA-critical sites on the web. I had been to so many meetings over the years that I had really built up a fear of not doing the steps 'right'. I always viewed AA as my only option to stay alive and I'd better not screw it up! That fear was rough to live with every day, I felt like a fraud for no reason.

I will share a little of my story (still too long) because I feel it illustrates how bad mental health care contributes to the problems that occur in AA. I started off as a depressed teenaged non-drinker with serious OCD-Pure that a very substandard mental health system basically threw their hands up at in hopelessness. I finally begged my parents for help but the only Psychiatrist in town tried one lousy, ineffective, anti-depressant, had NO CLUE what my OCD symptoms even were, then told me I should be happy since I had a scholarship waiting on me at a university. I couldn't live with my symptoms, so I tried alcohol. To make a long story short I made it through college but started losing my self-medication battle in a major way after the structure of school ended. Psychiatrists I saw at that point decided that I needed MAJOR anti-psychotics, since they said 'depressed people don't drink' but bi-polars and psychotics do. Those wrong medications nearly destroyed what was left of me, I lost everything and drank more. In the end the goal of the doctors and my family was to keep me drugged and out of sight. Then I fell into the hands of a social worker who directed me to a detox center. I ended up in long term treatment (which was it's own cult, long story) and AA. People in AA accepted me as a fellow human being despite my past, and I still doubt most people you meet can accept someone once they find out they have been in mental hospitals and long term treatment. I stayed sober, became gainfully employed, married a guy I met in AA and now have a decent life. I KNOW though that I am lucky in ways many are not. My husband and I got together fairly early so I didn't suffer as much of the 13 stepping as other women I know. I also saw early on that for my own sanity I needed to stay away from those wanting to more own people than sponsor them. The nasty sponsor women reminded me too much of my emotionally abusive mother, and no matter how run down by life I was, I wasn't putting up with that kind of abuse as a sober adult. I think 'sponsorship' is a hateful business overall. I also somehow gave myself permission to find my own spiritual path via a lot of outside reading, and that path bears little resemblance to the petty HP so many tout in the rooms. I don't believe that 'nothing happens in God's world by mistake' because of human free will, unfortunately most AAs feel they have to buy into this. Buying into this wrote, elementary spiritual view does make AA a religion for many, IMO, and contributes greatly to emotional misery within the fellowship.

I am also damn lucky I lived almost 18 more years without any more than psychological counseling for my depression. At some point in the past few years I decided that some of my thinking might not be good, perhaps the SUICIDAL IDEATION part. I had always told myself that if I ever drank again I would have to kill myself because my only other choice would be to return to AA as a has-been, nothing, someone who had lost all status and instead of friendship and would now suffer pity and lectures. I was afraid that under such pressure I might just continue to drink and end up killing someone in a car accident then going to prison for the rest of my life. I would run this scenario over and over in my head, and even tell my Psychologist that I was perfectly justified in wanting to die immediately if I drank again so as to avoid the horror of the inevitable. When I read your quotation of Dr. Vaillant's stats about a higher number of relapsing AAs committing suicide than other alcoholics who fall off the wagon I wasn't at all surprised, I KNOW what the thinking is, I know why they kill themselves, one drink and you are a complete failure and to be scorned despite how many years you had put into being a part of this recovery culture. Depressed people who self-medicated and ended up in AA probably are a very high percentage of folks that relapse and kill themselves.

Having such a bad experience with being over or wrongly prescribed by Psychiatrists wasn't the only reason for not looking into medication for my depression. The other big reason was that I had heard so often in the rooms the derisive comments made regarding taking anti-depressants. AA was the only place where I had been accepted and the only place I thought someone with my past was acceptable. I didn't want to give anyone any reason to doubt my sobriety or my "time". When I got out of the half-way house at 1 year sober I got off my meds so no one would say I wasn't "working a program."

Then there was a death in my family last summer. I didn't drink but inside me I knew it was time to go farther in treating my original problem. I can't say how grateful I am that I took that step and went on anti-depressant medication. I see more clearly than I have at any point in my life, this medication was a spiritual awakening of it's own. It is no longer a normal part of my life to think of suicide. I was always afraid people in AA would think I was a 'dry drunk' and needed more intensely demeaning step work if they knew how depressed I tended to be. I still choose to go to one AA meeting a week because some of the people there are a big part of my life, but to me it was the good people that helped my sobriety, not the cultish rhetoric most of AA consists of. I also know if the hard-liners take over every group in my area, I can leave and survive sober. I cheer for your site and others that are critical because all experiences need to be heard. All people with alcohol problems deserve to live, not just the small percentage that stay sober in AA. Looking back I wish I could have held on and never taken the first drink to try to ease my pain, I may have been able to have searched long enough to have found real mental health care if I had stayed "a good girl" in the eyes of mental health folks, but drinking limits one's options. After one starts drinking the diagnosis of alcoholism comes before anything else. This HAS to change or I don't see any progress happening in addiction treatment. Will I always stay in AA? I don't know. There are people I love and don't want to worry or let down by completely leaving. There is a place in life for some honest introspection even telling people to get out of their head and into doing the next right thing. I do, however, find I enjoy the company of AAs who go to less meetings rather than more, (my husband is now one of those, though he doesn't really admit it yet, LOL) people living life not just pounding themselves for being human and worshipping some "sponsor". I also find myself uncomfortable being a sponsor at this point because the expectations placed on sponsors is that you will run someone's life for them in every way. I'm a great listener and shoulder to cry on, but I'm not geared to be the perpetually angry bitch with a proverbial whip so many new people are taught to seek.

Sincerely (and sorry for the long letter),


Hello Mary,

Thank you for the letter, and I don't mind the length at all. (We don't have to pay for blank paper here.) I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and thinking for yourself. Congratulations on reclaiming your own mind. I'm sorry to hear about the bad medical treatment that you got. Sometimes, even properly-trained and educated doctors aren't very good.

The anti-medications bias of Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the worst features of A.A. I cannot say how many people that has hurt, but I know it is a lot.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

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

[An additional comment on this letter from Renee is here.]

[The next letter from Mary is here.]

UPDATE: There is now an entire file of A.A. "No Medications" horror stories, here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

[The previous letter from Lisa_T is here.]

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 2:28 pm     (answered 10 May 2011)
From: "Lisa T."
Subject: Re: FW: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

Your links have not provided me any information about your life story of alcoholism or addiction. Nothing about your recovery. Just all put downs of AA.

Hello again, Lisa,

Did you not read the web pages that I pointed you towards? Let's try again: This is the biographical information: Who are you?

And I also pointed you to the story of the night I went into DT's, here.

And the story of my recovery is here: How did you get to where you are?

Alcoholics and addicts are obssessed with drinking or using. When they recover — they must move their focus to another outlet. For *many*recovering alcoholics and addicts — the program of alcoholics anonymous has been a positive program — an outlet for focus. It has had prodigious results...

Please prove that statement. That is just standard A.A. propaganda, and Bill Wilson's boasting: "prodigious results". (Look here.) There is zero valid medical research that agrees with those statements.

Instead of obsessing about the steps and program of AA — you have decided instead to be obsessed with putting down and criticizing the program of AA. And hey — if it keeps you sober — good for you. I hope you have all the serenity and peace in your heart from putting down AA — that myself and many others have gained from active membership in AA.

Obsessing? It isn't me who has to go to meetings all of the time. I go lay on the beach and take pictures of goslings.

Even if only 1 in 15 people get sober through the program of AA — it is worth it. B/C think of how many poeple are effected by that single persons alcoholism. So 1 person getting better ultimately in turns helps many others get better.

Just because some people also go to some A.A. meetings while they quit drinking does not mean that the meetings caused them to quit drinking.

Your obssessive web page is dangerous — I feel. Have you heard of the story of Audrey Kishline? She wrote a book putting down the program of AA. She was even a guest on Oprah about her book. She eventually drove drunk, hit a vehicle head on and killed a 38 year old father and his 12 year old daughter. She spent 4 years in prison.

Ah, yes, once again we have the standard A.A. declaration that telling the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous is doing a great disservice to alcoholics who are "seeking sobriety". Here is the list of previous accusations.

I not only know about Audrey Kishline, I met her at a SMART meeting. She went to SMART after she got out of prison. You do know, don't you, that she quit her own organization, Moderation Management, and went and joined Alcoholics Anonymous? After three months of A.A. indoctrination, she went on the binge that led to drunk driving and killing two people. The A.A. program really helped her a lot, didn't it?

Funny how the A.A. propagandists and apologists always fail to mention that Audrey Kishline returned to A.A. months before her binge.

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety
**     (by telling the truth).  Everybody knows that those disgusting
**     feeble-minded alcoholics cannot handle the truth."
**     "Oh, and we are working real hard to remove the stigma of alcoholism."

[The previous letter from Ted_D is here.]

Date: Mon, May 9, 2011 9:58 pm     (answered 11 May 2011)
From: "Ted D."
Subject: Re: Mr. A Orange, I've been reading your writings on AA and the Oxford Group...

I could not find your response, but it's late and I'll look later. I did see your quote of my letter, and I suppose you're drawing attention to the fact that I said I'm not giving you a 100% pro AA story. But then went on to argue positive aspects of AA. The truth is I haven't fully given myself to AA, and at the beginning of AA meetings they do say that people who don't make it are people who haven't fully given themselves to the program. That may or may not leave a battle of morals within me. I don't know that I can give myself fully to AA, I have my own religion, and while AA claims to enforce the belief in God, there are many people there that don't believe in God, and their are certain parts of the steps that conflict with my own religious beliefs. That is what I meant when I said I wasn't 100% pro AA. I'm not. All I am trying to do is stop drinking, so whatever I gain from the program, or pick up there, is just ammo to stop drinking. That is something I can't do by myself as I've tried so many times.

Hi again, Ted,

The response is an attachment. You may need to download it, or fetch it somehow, depending on your email program.

I was not arguing with your statement that it wasn't "a 100% pro AA story." I was simply disputing some statements, like the one that follows.

Your statement that AA does not work seems to be based on the giving out of coins for an area of Texas. I've been there for the giving out of coins, I never took mine, nor do I really care one way or the other. I don't think you can base statistics on coins when you don't know if members have stayed in the same group over the years, moved, left AA entirely but not started drinking again, or simply decided they don't care about the coin anymore. As 30 years of sobriety is a gift in itself. There are many people that may have found better ways to live that do not include AA. That being said, if you're going to base you thesis that AA doesn't work, on the giving out of coins, I think you'd better get some more reliable evidence. That's similar to figuring out how many people each soldier in the army has killed in an enemy army based on the medals they have received.

The coins given out are only the tip of the iceberg. The decline in coins given out as time passes is just one more piece of evidence. I do not base my statement that A.A. does not work on just the count of coins given out. There is much, much, more evidence that A.A. does not work, even statements from "the pioneers" like Bill Wilson and his secretary Nell Wing and Lois Wilson's secretary Francis Hartigan reporting on Bill and Bob's own calculations. We also have the A.A. dropout rate. And we have the medical research that found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and increased the death rate in alcoholics.

Please read the entire file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment. I listed all of that stuff in there.

Is AA a cult? It might well be, but I guess that depends on your definition of cult. I always thought of a cult as a group claiming to follow God that would lead to ultimate violence and destruction for it's members. Scientology, and a few others have that reputation, you know when the members get hurt in the process? You're saying AA doesn't work, and surely you may say that the fact that it doesn't work is what hurts its members. In other words, the people there are wasting their time.

The definition of a cult is pretty well covered by The Cult Test. Please read that, both the questions and the answers for A.A. And you could go ahead and score A.A. on that test yourself, and see what rating you come up with.

Not all cults worship God. Amway and Scientology do not. Amway worships money, and Scientology worships power. And few cults actually end in violence and death, only the most extreme ones. Some cult experts have calculated that there are around 2000 cults active in the USA, and only a handful end in mass deaths and suicide like Jim Jones' People's Temple or David Koresh's Branch Davidians. Nope, most cults are quite happy to just continue exploiting the members and lying to them and promising them a ticket to heaven.

And yes, people are wasting their time in A.A. But it is much worse than that. When the A.A. members tell the newcomers to stop taking their medications, that often results in psychotic breakdowns and hospitalization, and even deaths. Other people are very damaged psychologically by the bad dogma and constant putdowns, and have to spend years recovering from what A.A. did to them.

Personally, it helps me to remember what my drug and alcohol use has lead to. Even though I have brought myself into many low situations and remember those situations at times, most of the time, I don't think about them, I probably don't want to. AA lets me see how drugs and alcohol has ruined others lives, and what tricks and methods can be done to not drink. It also helps me to develop a support network of people I can relate to and share my problems with, as nobody understands an addict, like another addict. A sober addict, mind you, I am not trying to hang out with people on their way out the AA door, but people with time under their belt.

Yes, drugs and alcohol can lead you to Hell. But that does not make A.A. good. That's like saying, "The Nazis are bad, very bad. So the Communists are good, because they are opposed to the Nazis."

You are assuming that the A.A. oldtimers will give you good advice, and be good examples. You should read the list of A.A. horror stories before you make that assumption.

I also enjoy group therapy, with one therapist you get 1 answer, and if that answers sucks, you're out of luck, and you owe the therapist money. AA is free, and you get opinions of other people who have been through the same hell you have been through and have survived. I am not in AA to hear how people have failed at the program, because people who have failed at it aren't there.

I hear an assumption that "the program never fails; people fail the program."

I am not saying you aren't right about it being a cult, I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying you should get some better info on AA, it sounds like you've made up your mind about a group you've never been involved with or have ever attended. If you had been in AA for a long time and it had wronged you in some horrible way, I would understand. But if you are only speaking from attending a few meetings, taking a few notes to support a theory you're already trying to prove in one direction, well, that's not only in danger of being biased, but it's judgmental as well.

Better info on A.A.? Please, at least read the introduction, and then realize that people have been writing to me with their experiences and horror stories for 10 years now. Yes, I've been to A.A. and N.A. meetings, more than I can count.

You are also accusing me of being prejudiced there: "taking a few notes to support a theory you're already trying to prove in one direction". No, I started out thinking that A.A. was the biggest and best self-help group in America. Experience and direct observation told me otherwise. Please at least read the first few items of biography: Who are you?

Again, I am not in AA to fully submit myself to the steps, I have my own religious beliefs, I am there to get help to stop drinking and using. I am not looking to spend the rest of all time praying to 12 steps written by Bill W. I am just trying to stay sober, as are most people in the program. But if it is true what you are saying, that it does not work, that it is a cult and a scam, and that rehab institutes are also scams, then what is an addict like myself to do, since I have failed over and over again on my own? Should I simply give up? Not everybody is perfect when it comes to drugs and alcohol, some people do indeed die. What should I do?

I collected a list of helpful things, including letters from other people who found happiness in sobriety. You can start here: How did you get to where you are?

I will look for your response to my first letter, and then add more, but I hope I clarified myself a bit better, I don't exactly know what else to do? If AA is a dangerous cult scam, what are my other options?

Again, the response to the first letter is a web page that is attached to the email. I always answer emails with web pages because then the links work, and I can both send out the file and add it to the letters on the web site without putting together two different answers.

Have a good day now, and I wish you success in staying off of alcohol.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          ==   Adelle Davis

[The next letter from Ted_D is here.]

Date: Tue, May 10, 2011 4:42 am     (answered 11 May 2011)
From: "John T."
Subject: NYT article


Don't know if you've seen this. It's the claim in the first paragraph that struck me.

In the 15 years since I quit drinking, I've neither spoken nor written those words, and now, in doing so, I have more or less violated the first-name-only tenet of Alcoholics Anonymous, the grass-roots organization whose meetings have helped me (and millions of others) quit drinking. As A.A.'s 11th Tradition states, "We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films."

Millions of others?

Full Article:

Kind Regards,

(Please withhold email address if you publish. Thanks)

Hi John,

Thanks for the link. That is really a puff-piece, isn't it? Yeh, "millions saved". Yep, A.A. solved all of our alcoholism problems, and there aren't any "practicing alcoholics" left. Right.

Susan Cheever, who is heavily quoted as a real authority on Alcoholics Anonymous, is the fawning sycophant who wrote a biography of Bill Wilson that declared that it was really okay for Bill Wilson to be a sexual predator, and it was normal for Bill to conduct séances and talk to the dead.

Here are some quotes from Susan Cheever:

  1. necromancy and talking to the dead in séances is perfectly normal behavior.

  2. philandering and sexually exploiting women A.A. newcomers and lying about it isn't so bad either.

  3. Besides, Bill's sexual misbehavior and exploitation of sick women should be a secret because he's special....

  4. Also look here, here, and here.

So now they are talking about dropping the anonymity. Heck, they already have. We all know when Mel Gibson or Tara Conner or Lindsay Lohan is going back into rehab again.

The nice thing about dropping the anonymity is that it will be easier to see how many people do not get sober while doing the 12-Step dance. When people's names are known, we can track them.

And that was actually one of the big reasons why Bill Wilson wanted the anonymity. The Oxford Group had been terribly embarassed when their famous poster children like Russel Firestone, son of the rich tire magnate Harvey Firestone, spectacularly relapsed in all of the wrong high society places. When Russel first got sober, the Oxford Group had publicized the "success" for all it was worth, and bragged that the Oxford Group spiritual cure for alcoholism worked great. Later, they regretted their loquatiousness.

So Bill wanted all of the alcoholics to be anonymous, and never publicly reveal their membership in Alcoholics Anonymous. That way, nobody could figure out how many A.A. members were going back to drinking.

This should be interesting.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Never answer an anonymous letter.
**       ==  Yogi Berra

May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Mallard Drake
Mallard Drake

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, March 19, 2011 7:35 pm     (answered 11 May 2011)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Paid Trustees in AA

Hi, Terry, You recently mentioned your uncertainty regarding the pay status of AAWS/GSO trustees. I asked a delagate about it a few years ago, and have copied the relevant parts of our exchange. The info he passes along, while often favorably biased toward AA, generally seems accurate. Of course, some of the names are no longer current. Mike

"Mike" wrote:

"Thanks again. One more question, and I will put it to bed. Are any of those fourteen paid positions you spoke of held by Class A or Class B Trustees? I belabor this only to be accurate in the face of some misconceptions floating around out there. Mike"

to which he responded

"No Mike, they are not. There are, coincidentally, 14 Trustees (7 Class A and 14 Class B) but as I stated before, they are reimbursed for their travel expenses only. There are also 6 Non-Trustee Directors (3 AAWS, 3 Grapevine) who are treated the same as Trustees as far as expenses and voting and no salary.

The current paid staffers (GSC voting members) are as follows:

  1. Greg M — GM
  2. Adriene B — Staff Coordinator
  3. Mary D — CPC Desk
  4. Julio E — International Desk
  5. Irene K — PI Desk
  6. Mary Claire L — Group Services Desk
  7. Valerie O — Nominating
  8. Doug R — Conference Coordinator
  9. Eva S — Literature Desk
  10. Gayle S R — Corrections Desk
  11. Warren S — Treatment Desk
  12. Rick W — Regional Forums
  13. Robin B — Grapevine Editor
  14. Not sure — La Vina Editor

I heard that they now have a La Vina editor or are getting one but don't know the name. Tom Jasper was a voting member but his position was dissolved after his removal. There is a strong movement to get rid of the Treatment desk. It has become a useless waste of time and money, hardly receives any calls anymore and could be easily placed under CPC. Hope this helps."

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the input. Sorry to take so long to answer it. Somehow, it got overlooked and buried. I just found it.

Yes, another correspondent also informed me that the Trustees are not paid.

Thomas Jasper was "removed"? How odd. I was just noticing in the Form 990's that Thomas Jasper got $469,000 for just one year of being a "Senior Advisor" (2008). I wouldn't mind being "removed" like that. Look here.

By the way, that is almost double what the General Manager and President Greg Muth gets per year, $250,000. So that must have been some pretty great advice that the Advisor was doling out.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

Date: Sun, March 20, 2011 11:13 am     (answered 11 May 2011)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Alcoholics and God by Morris Markey

Hey, Terry, I noticed you still had this article up on your wishlist. The actual magazine now sells for about $350, so you probably won't be receiving it anytime soon, but here is an online version. Mike


Okay, thanks for the link. That's one more document for the library.

And have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.
**        ==  Voltaire (1694 — 1778)

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