Letters, We Get Mail, CCXLVIII

[The previous letter from ANONYMOUS is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#ANONYMOUS ]

Date: Thu, July 7, 2011 6:13 pm     (answered 12 July 2011)
Subject: Re: Why is Alcoholics is no longer effective?


I have been trying to find the salary figures for Phyllis Halliday, GSO general manager and other staff members. Amber Eden is the Managing editor of the AA Grapevine, inc. I believe GSO is non profit. The AA grapevine is supposed to be self supporting through subscriptions, but actually lost $393,000 last year. LaVina the Spanish edition has lost over a million dollars in the past 12 or so years. These losses come directly or indirectly out of our prudent reserve fund.

I am sure you know about the trustee set up, I just learned that before Phyllis H was hired to manage GSO in Jan 2009, she was a trustee from the pacific northwest. SHE WAS ON THE AA GRAPEVINE BOARD. Using the "comma which was already in place, the AA Grapevine has become of equal importance to the General Service Office.

I have come to believe that headquarters will remain the same. And the groups will never change. We will stumble along for many more decades failing the very suffering alcoholics we are responsible to be helping.

Do you have access to the I SAY FORUM AA GRAPEVINE? Recently this was revised. It was formally called the AA GRAPEVINE I SAY FORUM. They tell me that the new site is free but I had to pay $31.97 for a subscription to the ONLINE GRAPEVINE to access it. I have a dozen messages posted. It is not difficult to find which ones are mine.

I believe by invoking concept seven and cutting off the money supply may be the only solution. But even that won't work, because "they" will find new and innovative ways to raise the money to support their salaries.

In a nutshell, Alcoholics Anonymous has become a strange religious cult at the group level. Our headquarters has become big business. It is so sad. We have taken a fellowship which in my case was very successful, and turned it into a strange religious cultist Fellowship, which causes more harm than good.

I do believe that many at headquarters know who I am. Sometimes fear creeps in and I think of just walking away. I am not used to being outwardly critical of anyone. I have always had such a desperate need to have everyone approve of me. What a handicap! I have written hundreds of letters to any address I can find.

Do You know that AA's general service board is headed by Ward Ewing, an Episcopal Priest? He is AA's top leader, and dean of some seminary. in New York. Does that make sense, not allied with any sect? I wrote him a couple of years ago, when he wrote an article for the grapevine, titled A VISION FOR US. I questioned the title. Later he referred to A VISION FOR YOU. I emailed a couple of letters this year but he continues to ignore me. His belief is that we need new and more innovative ways to reach the suffering alcoholic. BULL! Fifty years ago Bill W wrote that practically everyone in America has heard of AA. The truth is that what they have heard about AA keeps them from approaching us. And what they have heard is TRUE!

Sorry if I keep repeating myself. AA has failed at least six million suffering alcoholics plus their friends and families over the last two decades, by the way meetings are conducted. Hundreds of thousands are still approaching AA every year in spite of our reputation as a religious cult. And we keep pushing them away telling them to Find God and find Him now! That reading of HIW at the beginning of AA meetings was the most horrible blunder we ever made, followed closely by the chanting.

I will close with a little attempt to explain the "comma." Perhaps five years ago I was at a meeting and the topic of how much laborious work is performed by our delegates at the conference. She said the conference had spent hours arguing over a simple comma. I forgot about it until years later when I was investigating the distortion of our prudent reserve concept. There may be more than one "comma", but the one I found gives the AA Grapevine access to our prudent reserve emergency savings bank account. One "emergency" was the removal of staples from the Grapevine and the perfect bound finish, which adds considerably to the cost of the magazine. Plus adding the graphics. And now I will close. Anonymous. My daughter updated the computer and explained the downloads and now I can read your mail.

Hello again, ANONYMOUS,

I'm glad to hear that you got your computer problems solved. Now you can read the following stuff.

I don't know anything about the Grapevine Forum. That's a new one to me.

Both the GSO (really, GSB, General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous) and AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.), are non-profits. AAWS used to be a for-profit publishing company that published and sold the A.A. literature. AAWS was totally owned by the non-profit GSB. But some years back, the A.A. leadership decided to quietly change AAWS into a non-profit company, which conveniently means that they don't pay taxes any more. But that has the downside that now they have to file public financial documents — Form 990 — which we can read. And some time or other, the Grapevine became a non-profit too.

We have discussed the finances of the A.A. organization a bunch of times. See these links:

  1. A.A. finances for 2004
  2. Response to above letter from former A.A. EDP manager: the A.A. headquarters is filing false financial reports with the IRS
  3. more discussion of finances
  4. links to A.A. financial reports
  5. Use Guidestar to investigate the General_Service_Board

For those who wish to investigate, all of these Form 990 filings are available:

  1. 237282071_1999_00006746.pdf
  2. 237282071_2000_00058167.pdf
  3. 237282071_2001_00264412.pdf
  4. 237282071_2002_0095e8ea.pdf
  5. 237282071_2003_010a3dc7.pdf
  6. 237282071_2004_019a25d8.pdf
  7. 1997_aaws_tax.pdf
  8. 1998-131679617-1-9.pdf
  9. 1998-131871991-1-9.pdf
  10. 1998-237282071-1-9.pdf
  11. 1999-131679617-1-9.pdf
  12. 1999-131871991-1-9.pdf
  13. 1999-237282071-1-9.pdf
  14. 2000-131679617-1-9.pdf
  15. 2000-131871991-1-9.pdf
  16. 2000-237282071-1-9.pdf
  17. 2001-131679617-1-9.pdf
  18. 2001-131871991-1-9.pdf
  19. 2001-237282071-1-9.pdf
  20. 2002-131679617-1-9.pdf
  21. 2002-237282071-1-9.pdf
  22. 2003-990AAGV.pdf
  23. 2003-990AAWS.pdf
  24. 2003-990GSBAA.pdf
  25. 2003-StepStone990.pdf
  26. 2004-131679617-019a2586-9.pdf
  27. 2004-131871991-02317d80-9.pdf
  28. 2004-237282071-019a25d8-9.pdf
  29. 2004-StepStone990.pdf
  30. 2005-237282071-025218f4-9.pdf
  31. 2005-990AAGSB.pdf
  32. 2005-990AAGV.pdf
  33. 2005-990AAWS.pdf
  34. 2005-StepStone990.pdf
  35. 2006-237282071-0317146f-9.pdf
  36. 2006-AAGV-990.pdf
  37. 2006-AAWS-990.pdf
  38. 2006-GSBAA-990.pdf
  39. 2006-StepStones990.pdf
  40. 2007-237282071-04113dbd-9.pdf
  41. 2007-990AAGV.pdf
  42. 2007-990AAWS.pdf
  43. 2007-990GSBAA.pdf
  44. 2007-990SteppingStones.pdf
  45. 2008-990AAGV.pdf
  46. 2008-990AAWS.pdf
  47. 2008-990GSBAA.pdf

The ones whose names begin with 2372 are duplicates from another source.

Have a good day now.

== 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)

[The previous letter from Vernon is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Vernon_L ]

Date: Thu, July 7, 2011 9:14 pm     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "Vernon L."
Subject: RE: AA (what else?)

OK, fine. How about this one......

What do you feel the odds are that in, say, a hundred years, The AA movement will be essentially a religion?

I'm thinkin' that considering human nature it's a high probable, especially if their is another catastrophic event, like a nuke going off in a major city, or an engineered pandemic. I already see a big shift to the Right politically in AA, especially with all the "God talk" one must endure at meetings. Hell, LDS was started by a serial pedophile, and Brigham Young is implicated in the massacre of a wagon train of settlers transiting Utah.

Why not Saint Bill and Saint Bob? (I like Bob better)

Hi again, Vernon,

A.A. already is a religion. The only question in my mind is how long it will last. A.A. is a cult in decline now, so I don't think it will survive in the long run. I'm sure it will hang on by its fingernails for a while, and will probably fade out about the same time as Scientology and the Moonies do.

I don't think A.A. will succeed like the Mormons. The thing that did it for the Mormons was the commandment that thou shalt have all of the children that thou canst possibly have. Outbreed the competition. All that A.A. has going for it is recruiting the sick people and addicts and loonies. That doesn't produce an ever-growing church, especially not when people discover that the claimed cure doesn't work.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can write that down in your book in great big letters.
**     The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them."
**       ==  L. Ron Hubbard  (the founder of Scientology)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Tom_W ]

Date: Fri, July 8, 2011 5:12 am     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "Tom W."
Subject: Hi Orange

Just wanted to say hi, I enjoy reading your website... I have a look at it every few days, have probably read through most of it now... wanted to rattle off a few things that are on my mind, just for the sake of getting some of my thoughts out there.

I am a member of a 12 step fellowship (not AA or CA, or a substance misuse fellowship for that matter)... I first joined it about a year ago, and left after a month convinced I didn't need it, but three months later fell back into my old behaviours, so I returned in January this year.... and since returning, whilst I have not been 100% free of my behaviours (though they have drastically reduced in frequency and intensity), I am in a much better frame of mind than I previously was. In all honesty I would rather not be in a 12 step programme to get "clean", and I have tried to find excuses not to go to meetings, but can't stop myself from turning up say, once a week...I just feel that if I don't go and keep talking to folks in the "fellowship", I feel I will end up losing control over my behaviours. I am not fanatical about 12 step stuff though I do do some of the daily "suggestions", the ones that are palatable to me... and I do have a sponsor, but I am not that keen on him (particularly after he advised me to go out and "get" some newcomers last week) but still call him... thankfully he is about 100 miles from me.

It's kind of weird, I think this stuff helps despite how cynical I feel about 12 steppism. It's like I read your site, enjoy it more than say, the big book, and have no issue with it because I can see where you are coming from, but I still feel that without getting into daily habits that detract from my previous habits, I don't have much of a chance of getting better. Plus I won't find any other f*cked up people like me in a non-12 step fellowship (I don't think!)

Not sure what to do...I guess I am hoping that with time I continue to "recover" and find myself turn out OK, and don't have to rely on the "fellowship" for a future life of happiness... but then at the same time, I would like to continue to help folks that have spent years in the same horrible place that I crawled out of earlier this year... but these people I will probably only find in a fellowship.

Horrible catch 22 really.

Cheers and have a good day,


Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing better. You know, there is nothing wrong with getting some moral support and encouragement from a group. That was the whole idea behind group therapy, which really does help some people, in some cases. And as long as you can avoid getting brainwashed into the worst beliefs of Steppism, you might do okay there. You sound like you have a pretty good take on the situation.

The fear that you will lose control if you don't go to enough meetings does sound suspiciously like standard cultish phobia induction. I'd watch out for that. But otherwise, your group sounds tolerable.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We are social beings.  We are absolutely hard-wired to fit in.
**     We don't want to be outsiders.  It causes neurological stress.
**       ==  M. Heffernin, "Willful Blindness"

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#w0183 ]

Date: Fri, July 8, 2011 2:11 pm     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: w0183
Subject: AA

Who are you        Are you telling the truth        Why hasnt AA sued you        I have been sober for 26 years and give GOD and AA credit for that         If you are lieing you must be full of hate and I will pray for you        GOD BLESS

Hello w0183,

I am telling the truth. I am not lying. People are dying over this stuff, so somebody has to tell the truth about what is really going on.

Congratulations on your years of sobriety. I give you the credit for making that choice. Nobody else can do it for you.

God Bless you too, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie —
**     deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth —
**     persistent, persuasive — of our forebears. We enjoy
**     the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
**        ==  John F. Kennedy, commencement address,
**              Yale University, June 11, 1962

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Prosody ]

Date: Sun, July 10, 2011 5:33 pm     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "Prosody"
Subject: Article on Bill WILSON AND THE TWELVE STEPS

Out of pure curiosity, are you an alcoholic?

Hello Prosody,

Well, I used to be an alcoholic. I don't think it is entirely accurate to continue to call myself an alcoholic now, considering that I haven't had a drink in 10 years. I used to drink far too much; now I don't.

Whenever people ask me if I'm an alcoholic, I have to ask them which definition they mean. A.A. uses several very different definitions for that word, and mixes them up, which confuses the issues.

We have talked about this before, so you can read the various definitions of "alcoholic" here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather
**     a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean —
**     neither more nor less."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**      and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in
**      Wonderland. 1832—1898)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#John ]

Date: Mon, July 11, 2011 2:13 pm     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "Examiner.com"
Subject: John has sent you an Examiner.com article


Hi there.

John thought you would enjoy this article: AA meeting secrets


Hi John,

Thanks for the link. Yes, that Kris Best is at it again. What a mess of A.A. slogans and standard cult characteristics:

  • Only drunks could understand other drunks

  • The alcoholic when helping other alcoholics manages to stay sober

  • Nobody cares about "status" in AA meetings as they are all the same, with the same problem of Alcoholism.

  • Some meetings are "Tradition meetings". This is where they share the thoughts, visions and history of AA.

  • This 12 Step Program is the meat and potatoes behind AA. If the AA member is faithful to the AA program and really works his 12 Steps, a transformation will take place.

  • To begin sharing, you state your name and, most importantly, that you are "an alcoholic." The alcoholics are encouraged to be rigorously honest with themselves and others. By admitting in meetings that they are indeed "an alcoholic" gives them an opportunity to remind themselves daily and to be vigorous in warding off the disease of alcoholism.

  • That is how AA works, by the members keeping each other in line.

  • "I feel better after every meeting, so I go."

Yes, that Kris really drank the koolaid.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will
**     either quit being mistaken, or cease to be honest.
**       —  Anonymous

UPDATE: 2013.08.09:
I answered another of her articles here: A reply to Kris Best's articles in the Lafayette Examiner.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Captain_Britain ]

Date: Tue, July 12, 2011 5:36 am     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "Captain Britain"
Subject: in like flint

hello orange i just wanted to tell you i,m going in ive decided to join the NRL and go in to aa as part of the worldwide rescue mission i love the site you are a good brave man .

As we have seen throughout history the truth is always supressed but now due to the internet its easier to get the truth out there , ive been left the collective 2 years now and feel better now ive even stopped smoking and taking caffeine i,m proud of myself i give myself full credit for my actions.

I will keep you posted on my successes i,m sure there will be many .

thankyou for your website yours captain britain

Hello Captain,

Thanks for the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Especially the quitting smoking. I'm sure you feel a whole lot better.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited,
**      and cannot serve any one; it must husband its resources to
**      live. But health answers its own ends, and has to spare;
**      runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of
**      other men's necessities.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Poet and Essayist

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#John_M ]

Date: Tue, July 12, 2011 7:34 am     (answered 12 July 2011)
From: "John M."
Subject: Placido Domingo Jr. targeted by Scientologists after he abandons cult in favour of ex-wife | Mail Online


Hi John,

Thanks for that link. Yes, that is Scientology at its worst. They demand that Scientologists "disconnect" from everybody who isn't a Scientologist, even family. And they blackmail people too. What Scientology calls "auditing" is telling everything about yourself, every dirty little secret, while holding a couple of tin cans that are connected to a lie detector (that they call an "E-meter"). The "auditor" writes down all of those secrets in a file that can later be used to blackmail the victim if he choses to leave Scientology, or worse, denounce it.

There really ought to be a law.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release
**   form before you can receive its "spiritual assistance."
**   This assistance might involve holding you against your
**   will for an indefinite period, isolating you from
**   friends and family, and denying you access to
**   appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed
**   for this treatment — assuming you survive it. If not,
**   the release form absolves your caretakers of all
**   responsibility for your suffering and death.
**   Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
**                 —  Dr. Dave Touretzky

Date: Wed, July 13, 2011 3:04 pm     (answered 15 July 2011)
From: "John M."
Subject: Re: Placido Domingo Jr. targeted by Scientologists after he abandons cult in favour of ex-wife | Mail Online

On a side note, if your religion is so bad you choose your _ex-wife_ (no matter how amicable you are with them) over the religion, your religion has issues.

Oh, so true. It reminds me of those corny vaudeville Henny Youngman jokes about wives, "Take my wife. Please!" Except that now it's "Take my cult religion. Please!"

"I was given a choice between Scientology and my ex-wife. I chose my ex-wife. She only takes half of my money."

"I was given a choice between Scientology and my mother-in-law. I chose my mother-in-law. She only nags me half of the time."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy.
**     If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher."
**        ==    Socrates  (469 BC — 399 BC)

May 23, 2009, Saturday: Day 23:

Saturday Market
Saturday Market, Portland, Oregon
It's Saturday morning, and I took a side trip through the Saturday Market on my way to feed the goslings.

Jimi impersonator
"Jimi" at the Saturday Market
[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Tom_M ]

Date: Wed, July 13, 2011 6:23 am     (answered 14 July 2011)
From: "Tom M."
Subject: AA bites.

The latest phase in my deprogramming went off without a hitch. I went to a bar with a work colleague last night. It must be my first time in a bar, in the evening time, in a long time. Nothing happened. The bottles behind the bar didn't start talking to me and telling me to drink, drink, drink. My "powerlessness" didn't overwhelm me and compell me to imbibe alcohol against my will. I have a choice to drink or not to drink. I always did.

It is amazing how deep the false beliefs of AA can embed themselves in your psyche, how much fear of alcohol and drinkers and drinking situations endless AA meetings instilled in me. I think it is a false fear.

I must say that I did feel a bit awkward ordering a sparkling water in a bar, I feel like a bit of a pussy, but if anyone says anything smart to me, my response shall be either "I am the designated driver" or "Mind your own f--king business". I don't think being a non-drinker in a bar is as big a deal as I have made it in my own mind. People have lots of reasons for not drinking, at any particular time, a barman isn't going to automatically assume that you are a self-diagnosed alcoholic who is brainwashed by a repackaged 1930's cult religion. Most people don't care whether you drink or not. People who do care that you are a non-drinker, need to look at themselves first.

I have a lot of regret and sadness about the missed opportunities for socialising that I have experienced, because of my fear and holier-than-thou attitude towards drinking and drinkers. I live in Ireland, the pub is a very big part of the social scene here,if you stay away from pubs, you miss out on a lot. I had more fun in one night out last night, than I did at 100 mind-numbing AA indoctrination sessions ("meetings"). There is a huge opportunity cost involved with AA membership. You miss out on so much, not just on the time that is wasted attending the same religious service for the umpteenth time.

Fear of women is a big issue for me too. I was taught in AA that "under every skirt is a slip" and that getting involved with a woman before I had completed the 12 steps would very likely lead to a relapse and that putting a relationship with a woman before my commitment to AA would lead to unspecified but dire consequences. The fear that the 12-step way of life induces creates a very small world within which to live. Overcoming these fears is not easy and takes time.

Keep on rocking

Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your sobriety, and your victories.

I remember the first time that I went into a bar after I had quit drinking. I had several months of sobriety by then. I was just walking up the street, and there was a restaurant that had outdoor speakers, and there was an incredibly beautiful song playing, sung in Spanish by some woman whom I didn't recognize. So I walked in and asked one of the waitresses what that music was. She was very nice about it, but explained that she would have to go ask some guy as soon as she could get a free minute from serving her customers. I waited. All around me, people were eating and drinking at their tables. And there was the bar, with all of the bottles of liquor lined up in a gigantic display. I saw it all. I felt a little apprehensive, but didn't do anything except wait. Finally, the waitress came back and said that it was Lhasa de Sela. I went to the library and checked out a couple of her albums, and it was worth the wait.

What I learned from that is that I also won't just flip out if I walk into a bar and see all of the bottles. I am not powerless over alcohol, either. I don't make a habit of hanging out in bars, but I won't instantly die if I walk into one.

About not drinking in the presence of drinkers, I have several favorite lines:

  1. Doctor's orders.
  2. I already drank my quota. (My lifetime quota, years ago.)
  3. I've got other things to do later.
  4. I'm working on improving my health now.
  5. That stuff and me just don't agree any more.
  6. I want to keep my clarity.

The interesting thing is that the times they are a'changin'. Nowadays, lots of people think you are smart if you don't drink alcohol, not a weirdo. It seems that the "smart drug" attitude has kind of worn off on other people. Lots of people who don't even know what "smart drugs" really are have still learned the idea that it's smart to not poison your brain with alcohol, which is, after all, a pretty low-quality drug, when you come right down to it.

By the way, "smart drugs" aren't really drugs; they are more like cocktails of vitamins and amino acids and other stuff like that. I've never gotten into them myself, but I do take lots of vitamins regularly. They help with the recovery. Especially get lots of B vitamins, which the brain needs for repairing itself and growing some new brain cells.

About the socializing, I totally agree. I remember a Baptist preacher who was quite candid, saying that somebody told him, "Reverend, I find more brotherly love in the bar on Saturday night than in the church on Sunday morning." Yep. And you don't have to deprive yourself of that. Just keep a grip on yourself, which you seem to be doing quite well.

Personally, I can't enjoy the bar or pub scene, because when I see people drunk, it's just too painful to watch. It brings back a lot of old memories, and old feelings that I'd rather not get into. So I go do other things.

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

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

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Tom_M2 ]

Date: Thu, July 14, 2011 11:33 am     (answered 15 July 2011)
From: "Tom M."
Subject: More Cult BS

Woohoo. I just found some more cult rubbish masquerading as effective treatment for serious conditions. Grow <http://www.grow.ie/>, which purports to be a World Community Mental Health Movement in Ireland, uses a variation on the twelve steps <http://www.grow.ie/steps.html>.

If you look toward the end of this webpage
you will see that the Irish Government Health Service recommends them as helpful for anyone who is seeking help with depression or emotional problems. The more I delve into this stuff, the more I am seeing that sometimes the cure can be worse than the complaint. I know that a lot of these people mean well, but if the method they use does more harm than good, their intentions are utterly irrelevant. There might be an oncologist in my local hospital who is only interested in money and doesn't care much for humanity, but if his treatment methods work, then his motives don't matter a damn. He will cure people anyway, even if he is selfish.

I also like the bit on the HSE webpage about depression medication, "They can improve your mood, help you to sleep and reduce anxiety and agitation. " I could just as easily say, with equal certainty, that "Listening to Brahms can improve your mood, help you to sleep and reduce anxiety and agitation." And I am not aware of any documented side-effects to listening to Brahms. And I am aware of lots of documented side-effects to taking anti-depressants.

My latest reading is about anti-depressants, I have read two excellent books lately, The Emperors New Drugs by Irvine Kirsch and Manufacturing Depression by Gary Greenberg They have really helped me to learn more and think more clearly about my past history. The first book is also a huge help in understanding how important double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials are when determining whether drugs really work.

All the best

Hi again, Tom,

Thanks for the input. I didn't know about that quackery in Ireland. It doesn't surprise me though. The true believers never rest in their campaign to spread their goofy religious beliefs far and wide. They have convinced themselves that they are doing people a big favor, even saving the world, by spreading the practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion everywhere. They are of course crazy.

I have really mixed feelings about the use of tranquilizers. I am not against tranquilizers or psychiatric medications. They really do help some people to get through life, and are a good thing for them. But if somebody is just gobbling tranquilizers as a simplistic solution to bad feelings, then that's just another addiction. Obviously, some people simply substitute tranquilizers for alcohol, and don't change much else in their lives, and don't get their lives straightened out. That isn't good.

A confounding factor is that some people cannot be fixed. Some people have such messed up brains that they cannot survive in the real world without chemical help. In the bad old days, such people were confined to mental institutions. Today, they can live free, with the help of medications.

I'm still quite opposed to doctors just handing out tranquilizers like chicken feed and over-medicating people. If people can fix what's broken and live without tranquilizers, then I think they are better off. But some people just can't, you know.

About the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials: Guess what kind of test A.A. has failed every time? Every time A.A. was fairly tested in a randomized controlled study, it failed to sober up the alcoholics.

To be nit-pickingly accurate, it is not possible to do a double-blind test of Alcoholics Anonymous. A double-blind test requires that neither the patients nor the doctors know whether the patients are getting the real medicine or a placebo. (Another doctor or pharmacist puts the pills in the patients' pill bottles, and only he knows who is getting what, and he doesn't tell until the test is over.) The patients would have to all be blind and deaf to not know whether they were in an A.A. meeting.

And the placebo is another question. The best I ever heard of on the subject of placebos was the Patty-Cake Treatment Program. That's about the closest thing that I ever heard of to a placebo-controlled clinical test of A.A. The way that I heard it, some university professor was noticing just how ineffective A.A.-based treatment was, so he decided to test it. He divided some alcoholics into two groups. One group got A.A., and the other group got meetings where they started the meeting by playing Patty-Cake. Then they spent the rest of the hour talking about sports, news, celebrity gossip, or whatever the heck they wanted to talk about. The results were that the patty-cake group got the same success rate as the A.A. group.

A friend commented that he thought the Patty-Cake program would produce real positive effects, because it offered group identification, socializing, encouragement, and mutual trust. The fact that they could get together and trust each other enough to play patty-cake indicated a lot of openness and trust, he said. He might be right.

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
**    "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here.
**        I'm mad. You're mad."
**    "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
**    "You must be," said the Cat. "or you wouldn't have come here."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**          and Novelist, especially remembered for
**          Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 1832—1898)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Christopher_C ]

Date: Thu, July 14, 2011 8:08 am     (answered 15 July 2011)
From: "Christopher C."
Subject: AA/NA success rate claims

Saying 12 step programs have a 90%-100% failure rate makes me think you have never researched anything regarding your claim with your own found information. Maybe the lay person will be convinced, but anyone with ACTUAL knowledge (unlike yourself) will see through your gimmick.

As of September 2011, I will be clean 15 years because of NA. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people I know (far greater than your claimed 0%-5%), from NA and AA meetings, in several states, are still clean/sober.

So, where are you getting this information from? If you want to make claims, back them up with actual statistics, not implied statistics. You will look more credible.

These programs have saved many lives. I only hope that no one reads your farce and dies because they believed you, and decided not to go to a meeting.

Hello Christopher,

Thanks for the letter. I am not lying or writing a "gimmick".

I have done a lot of research on the subject, and backed up my statements with the reports from real medical doctors who conducted the tests of A.A.-based treatment.

  1. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. indoctrination greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics. People who were sent to A.A. ended up, after 9 months of A.A., doing FIVE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got no such help, and NINE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Behavior Therapy.

  2. Dr. Keith Ditman found that A.A. involvement increased the rate of re-arrests for drunkenness.

  3. Dr. Diana Walsh found that "free" A.A. just messed up a lot of alcoholics and made them require more expensive hospitalization later.

  4. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that just having a doctor talk to alcoholics and their wives for just one hour, one time ever, telling them to quit drinking or they were going to die, was just as effective as an entire year of 12-Step-based treatment that included all of the facilities of the hospital.

  5. This one is the most damning evidence of all, because it came from a doctor who loves Alcoholics Anonymous, and is one of its biggest promoters. He is (or was) also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. Doctor George E. Vaillant (who later became a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University), clearly demonstrated that A.A. treatment kills patients. For eight years, while he tried to prove that A.A. works, his A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission, and worse, it had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied. Dr. Vaillant candidly called the A.A. death rate "appalling". At the end of 8 years, the score with his first 100 A.A.-treated patients was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking.

    But 5% per year is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics — what Dr. Vaillant called "the natural history of alcoholism". That's how many alcoholics recover on their own, without any "treatment" or "support group". A.A. cannot claim the credit for those recoveries, no matter whether they attend some A.A. meetings or not, and Dr. Vaillant clearly said that. So 5 minus 5 equals zero, the real A.A. recovery rate.

  6. And then, even though these items have not been surveyed and documented by doctors, there is plenty of evidence that the A.A. suicide rate and the A.A. divorce rate are big problems too.

  7. There have not been as many good, controlled studies of Narcotics Anonymous, but this one comes to mind: N.A. sponsorship test. When researchers tested whether people getting sponsors in Narcotics Anonymous would help to get them off of drugs, they found that N.A. sponsorship did not help at all. Total failure. Curiously, those N.A. oldtimers who chose to be sponsors stayed off of drugs more, which shows that they got some satisfaction out of acting as wise know-it-all mentors. But it didn't help the newcomers any.

When you try to claim that N.A. made you clean and sober, that is an example of the propaganda tricks of Proof by Anecdote and Testimonials and Stories. It's just the same as Tom Cruise claiming that Scientology fixed his mind and saved him from the nasty Evil Galactic Overlord Xenu, while he jumps up and down on the couch, and says that Scientology knows more about the human mind than all of the psychiatrists in the world. Do you really believe that Tom Cruise's testimonials prove that Scientology is a wonderful organization that has all of the answers to mental illness and drug addiction? That's the problem with testimonials: they don't really prove anything other than the fact that the speaker really likes his own church or cult or organization.

You are also Confusing Correlation and Causation. A bunch of people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired from drugs and alcohol get together and talk, and a few of them do actually quit their addictions, and stay quit, and then you assume that the cause was the talk meeting and maybe some old cult religion practices from the nineteen-thirties. Not so.

The real cause of the recovery is that some people finally wise up and decide not to die that way. They are not "powerless" over drugs or alcohol or "their addiction". They can quit, and eventually, about half of them do.

Congratulations on your 15 years of clean and sober living. It is good that you used your own intelligence to decide not to kill yourself with drugs and alcohol, and then you used your will power and strength to quit and stay quit. The 12-Step quackery had nothing to do with it, and nobody did it for you.

Lastly, you asked me for statistics. Okay, I've showed you mine. Now can I see yours? What is the real Narcotics Anonymous success rate? If we send 1000 drug addicts to N.A., how many of them will be clean and sober a year later? Two years? Five years? Twenty years?

I have the numbers for Alcoholics Anonymous here.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If someone has cancer or diabetes or coronary disease,
**     we don't use a quack doctor to treat those sick people —
**     a quack whose only qualification is that he used to drink
**     too much alcohol or take too many drugs, and who is now
**     a member of a cult religion. But with the so-called
**     "disease" of addiction, the standard treatment is
**     to have former alcoholics or dopers dispensing their
**     platitudes and slogans, and insisting that "spirituality"
**     is the cure.
**     The fact that it is difficult to break established bad habits
**     does not mean that those bad habits are diseases.

May 23, 2009, Saturday: Day 23, continued:

Saturday Market
Saturday Market
[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#Jamie_G ]

Date: Thu, July 14, 2011 6:24 am     (answered 15 July 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Jamie G. posted on your Wall.

"Hi Orange

Hope alls well.. I noticed a few letters talk about the sinclair method.. I know you like research and I highly recommend the book... Its called The Cure For Alcoholism by Dr Roy Eskapa.. You have to buy it from ebay or amazon and its around £11 english pounds.. Its a very interesting read and offers real solutions to the problem of addiction but of course you see the age old question of why haven't we heard of this before.. Sinclair explains in his book which surprise surprise Money is the main factor.. This treatment could not only offer hope and save lifes but could totally transform the recovery industry once the word is out there fully.. I,m trying to get Drs or perscribers to look at it in my home town.. Take care orange and keep up the great work dude :D..

PS the best thing as well is that its developed by real science and real medicine and has passed over 70 clinical trials each boasting up to 80% success.. Thats gotta be summert to shout about..

Take care Now ....

JAmie :D "

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for the note. I'll check that out.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      To think we are able is almost to be so; to determine upon
**      attainment is frequently attainment itself; earnest resolution
**      has often seemed to have about it a savor of omnipotence.
**         ==  Samuel Smiles (1812—1904)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#xx ]

Date: Fri, July 15, 2011 2:04 pm
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Jamie G. commented on your Wall post.

Jamie wrote:
"No worries Orange.. When you read the book its one of them "Ohhh Thats Why" Moments... Like most things in life the answer to a complex problem is a very simple solution.. Let me know how you find it be great to hear your feedback.. All the best
Jamie :D"

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html#James_B ]

Date: Thu, July 14, 2011 10:51 pm     (answered 16 July 2011)
From: "James B."
Subject: A.A. is a cult in decline

The sooner the better! We can all do our part by spreading the word about the horrors of the 12 step cult insanity, I sure do. I am very glad people like you keep pumping the message out, and no site does it better than yours.

I still only get to your site every few months just to make sure it's still going because the day it isn't I will make sure it's mirrored.

I am alcohol free and I never think about the vile brew at all anymore and haven't for years, nor do I think about "sobriety" either which is nothing but the even more destructive addiction to cult practices.

Looking back, if I had to choose between a slow death by alcohol or the living hell of life immersed in the 12 steps I would happily choose the path to death through alcohol than the supposed "life" found in AA.

Luckily, those aren't our only choices! We must continue to hammer into the numb skulls out there that they have options! Choose life!

Hello James,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety

You make a lot of good points. About the last one: it seems that some people really do decide to die rather than stay sober by practicing the 12 Steps. Some people are that repulsed by the cult religion. I think that was one of the things that Charles Bufe noticed in one of his books. And of course Dr. George Vaillant also documented the fact that A.A. actually raised the death rate in his patients.

Fortunately, as you said, we have a third choice: happy recovery, a life without either A.A. or alcohol.

So have a good day and a good life now.


*             [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.

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 9 August 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters248.html