Letters, We Get Mail, CCXCI

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Christopher_M ]

Date: Mon, February 27, 2012 10:16 am     (answered Tue, February 28, 2012 1:04 pm)
From: "Christopher M."
Subject: Thank you!!!!


I woke up this morning and accidentally stumbled across your page. It's great to know SOMEONE out there see's NA/AA the same way I do. I've been to rehab, I've done the NA thing.... none of it worked. I didn't quit heroin until I wanted to quit. And, by that time I didn't need any 12 step none sense to save me from myself.

Do you write all of the articles, or do you accept user submitted articles?

Hello Christopher,

Thanks for all of the compliments. And I'm glad to hear that you quit your bad habits. Welcome to health.

I have written almost all of the articles, but I'm open to contributions by others. Feel free to send something.

And in a way, lots of the letters that I've posted are articles by others.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
**     It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
**     == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Al_C ]

Date: Mon, February 27, 2012 7:24 pm     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: al c.
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous as a "Nazi Cult Religion"

Dear Orange,

"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Working With Others, pg. 98)

At a closed meeting of AA, I was asked what my topic would be and I suggested what YOU have labelled our fellowship...."Nazi Cult Religion". Everyone laughed and then we proceeded to discuss more important issues, such as our primary purpose....to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety!!

God Bless....


Hello Al,

Thanks for the letter. That's a neat way to go into denial and dodge the question. And it also has a nice touch of the propaganda trick called "Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes" Oh, and Laugh It Off is another standard propaganda and debating trick.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The Wizard's First Rule:
**     People will believe a lie because they want it to be true,
**     or because they are afraid it might be true.
**     The Wizards Second Rule:
**     The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.
**       ==  The Legend of the Seeker

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Monica_R ]

Date: Sun, February 26, 2012 11:57 am     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: "Monica R."
Subject: First Amendment rights regarding AA and its traditions and what's really going on there...

Hi blogging friends,

sorry for the long email but...

In quiet thought ...meditation... today it dawned on me that when AA sends their letter asking all media outlets to not print the truth about AA members stories, using its 12 traditions as its weapon, it is actually against the First Amendment (freedom of Speech.) Yes? ...it's also not fraud ... how they represent AA on their website... and negligence to not warn the public at large and the AA membership as a whole about 3rd level sex offenders and violent criminals are being sentenced to AA unknown to most of the 12 step population and certainly not known to the general public... right?

Board Members have a legal liability and responsibility to its members. I recently learned this at the Screen Actors Guild forum where members just sued the Guild itself for not including a "minority report" to its members.

I believe we must have a strategy in how we effect the change we are all looking for. I know that Isle and Mark are really not activists like some of us are and that Carolyn needs a break from it all, but I know that you have emails from other bloggers who are still working underground.

What Isle and Mark did with ST was the beginning of a huge movement and personally really helped me leave AA. OP opened my eyes but with the live blogging on ST it was
well... really powerful!! Carolyn brought me the first story of a large scale with harassment "inside " the meeting. And she was the first in AA to really take them all on legally ie her church. Her passion and fierceness made me drive 6 hours to meet and interview her.

Although I knew many other women personally, harassed in the rooms, none of them were really ready to sue AA Headquarters and leave AA.

So Any thoughts on this? I am finally moved in and only have 2 boxes of mine to empty in my new house with a friggen office !!! I have SPACE!!!! :)

I am now ready to get back to making my film. Just like a few other Docs I have seen, this work, my Documentary and the activism go hand and hand.

EVEN though I myself am willing to sue AA in NY on any ground legally possible, I have been guided to make my film first by the guy who worked on "DELIVER US FROM EVIL " a film about the Catholic Church Sex scandal.

To sue AA and make my film would be too hard. I agree...I can see their point and I agree for now.

But someone else can do it. And if no one does it by the time my film is done...I can do it. Richardson vs Alcoholics Anonymous has a nice ring to it. :)

There is a lawyer up in Washington State who is handling the case where the women got stabbed in the Anger Management class. That story Anti D posted on www.nadaytona.com site. I contacted him and he said he was willing to help.

Isle and Mark... there were many super intelligent bloggers on ST and I hope if you know any that might want to be in direct contact with me please have them call and/or email me.

I think one is a lawyer. Mona Lisa? But I don't remember her real name.

Again I want to thank each and every one of you that has helped me leave AA and in turn you have helped me and my son age 21, from going down the path of the cult.

Thats all for now. Have a lovely Sunday!


Hello Monica,

Thanks for the letter and all that you do. Making the movie sounds like a very good thing to do. Our society is so visually-oriented that ideas just don't penetrate the skulls of a lot of people if they don't see it on TV or in a movie.

(I am reminded of the movie Dogma. I was just watching that again for amusement. In it, "The Metatron" complained that people were oblivious to all kinds of religious concepts, and all that he got was blank stares when he talked about such things, but as soon as somebody puts it in a Charlton Heston movie, everybody becomes a theologian.)

I'm not a lawyer, so I can't sue. At times, I wish I was. I know that at least one or two readers are lawyers. Perhaps they will connect with a good test case. Getting just the right case that is really worth pursuing is a challenge. Like you say, a lot of people are not ready to sue. I've heard the same thing. People who have a great case of coerced religion say that they just want to get through it and put it behind them. Such a precedent-setting case requires both an iron-clad case and a plaintiff who is totally committed and ready to fight to the death, and a lawyer or somebody who is willing to gamble a lot of money. Oh, and we need a lawyer who does that kind of lawsuits. The one lawyer that I remember writing in is Claire, who is an estate attorney who deals with wills and inheritances.

Still, I can hope.

By the way, did anyone hear what happened with Baldwin Research? They were suing A.A. for defamation of character. (And just to really complicate matters, later, I heard that Baldwin Research is a Scientology front. I'm not sure, but that's what I hear. It seems that they share an 800 phone number with other Scientology fronts. Nevertheless, watching Scientology and A.A. sue each other could be very entertaining in a primitive sort of way, kind of like putting a scorpion and a black widow spider in a jar and watching them fight it out.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Alcoholics Anonymous materials and the testimony of the witness established
**     beyond a doubt that religious activities, as defined in constitutional law,
**     were a part of the treatment program.  The distinction between religion and
**     spirituality is meaningless, and serves merely to confuse the issue.
**       — Wisconsin's District Judge John Shabaz,
**        ruling in the case of Grandberg v. Ashland County, a 1984 Federal
**        7th Circuit Court concerning judicially-mandated A.A. attendance.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Friendlyofella ]

Date: Fri, February 24, 2012 8:01 pm     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: Friendlyofella
Subject: (no subject)

the knoledge i received in AA and the practice of the princples does bring about the much disered result freedom from drink and ease and comfort in sober liveing.. theirs no debate just facts

Hello Friendlyofella,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, facts. That is what it's all about.

Like the fact that when Dr. George Vaillant, who loves A.A. so much that he became a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous, shoved A.A. on his patients for many, many years, the result was the A.A. didn't work at all, and just raised the death rate. (Look here.) Now that wasn't a debate, that was just the doctor issuing a report declaring what happened.

Yes, facts. Here are many more facts: Results of doctors' clinical tests of A.A.

Yes, facts. Heaven knows, we don't want to bet our lives on the ravings of some nutcases who just ignore the facts and yammer about how wonderful their religious beliefs are.

Good luck, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the
**      same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
**         — Albert Einstein (1879—1955)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Tom_H ]

Date: Fri, February 24, 2012 7:38 pm     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: The most difficult Aspect of the AA Program

The real question is whether A.A. does more harm than good. There sure does seem to be a lot of us long time sobriety people around that claim it took many of us ten times or more at treatment or A.A. to "get the program." The higher power in AA must place special favors on the average 48-52 year old alcoholic when this higher power grants them sobriety. (That's the average age of getting sober)

I have come to my own personal conclusions that a person like myself came into AA a serious problem drinker and got sober 13 years later as a full blown low bottom alcoholic. I could be out of my gourd but I think AA keeps people drinking until they literally cannot drink anymore. Then they take the credit. Why don't we have large groups of late twenty year old sobriety members sitting around the tables ?

We quit when we cannot any longer drink or we will die. Some choose to drink to death and that in itself is another whole subject.


Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter, and I have to agree with every one of your points.

I also drank until I just could not drink any more. The doctor said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." And he meant it. And I was so sick that I believed him. After thinking about it for a while, and drinking on it some more, and thinking some more, I finally decided to quit. And I did.

My quitting had nothing to do with A.A. or treatment or anything like that. It had everything to do with being very, very sick.

Doctors and professionals like to use the phrase "maturing out of addictive behavior". That often strikes me as a fancy way of saying, "Burning out." When you just can't do it any more, you can't do it any more, and you either quit drinking or die.

I'm glad that we both chose to live. Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Out, you imposters; quack-salving, cheating mountebanks;
**     your skill is to make sound men sick, and sick men to kill.
**       ==  Philip Massinger (1583—1640), English dramatist, playwright, poet

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Hugh_G ]

Date: Wed, February 15, 2012 12:25 pm     (answered 2 March 2012)
From: "HUGH G."


A.A. Cultwatch here in the U.K. is disputing A.A. membership which is put at 34000. It thinks that ex-members should be included in the current membership.

By this thinking I ought to be counted as a drinker although I am 17 years sober.

What is the name for this type of thinking?

Hugh G

Hello Hugh,

Wow. Thanks for the letter. That kind of thinking strikes me as desperation. They must really be desperate to make A.A. look bigger and better than it is.

I'm not sure about the proper name for such thinking. These labels come to mind: Crazy, wishful thinking, non sequitur, deluded, demented, irrational, nuts...

And I would guess that they are imagining that everybody who left A.A. is not only wonderfully sober, but sober because of A.A. practices that they learned while they were in A.A. (So of course all of those ex-members should be counted as A.A. success stories.) That is outrageously unrealistic and delusional. And there is a word for that kind of thinking: presumptuous. They presume that ex-members are sober, and that A.A. is due the credit for that imagined sobriety.

Such an attitude also directly contradicts the idea that you cannot ever leave A.A., and you can't ever graduate, and you must remain in A.A. forever, faithfully attending the meetings and teaching the young and being an inspiration to the beginners, or else you will relapse.

I am also surprised at the number. Is that it? Only 34,000 A.A. members in all of the U.K.? That is really tiny. No wonder they want to inflate the number.

If the U.K. version of "AAcultwatch" is the same as the USA version, then they are a bunch of A.A. true believers who want to get rid of the cultish "improper behavior" in A.A. that is "not following the Traditions" and making A.A. "look bad". They imagine that all of the bad things about A.A. are just the result of "a few bad apples", and that A.A. will be wonderful if people just follow the rules and Traditions properly, "like they did in Good Old Days".

I find them to be a very interesting bunch, and occasionally, I learn about some really scandalous things in A.A. from them. Still, I think they are really confused about what constitutes honesty and spirituality.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Wouldn't it be terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics
**     which prove that more people are driven insane through
**     religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?
**        ==  W. C. Fields

BLOG NOTE: 1 March 2012:

We got some more snow, so of course I'm out there feeding the birds.

Snow on trees Snow on trees

Snowy trees
Snowy trees

Raccoon footprints
Tell-tale Raccoon Footprints
Once again, it becomes obvious that I have a raccoon living in the back yard. Welcome to the country. I had not seen his footprints since the previous winter when he left his footprints in the snow then. I wasn't sure if he was still around. He is. He has been helping himself to any remaining oatmeal or bread or other birdfood that is left laying around after dark, but I didn't know it until I saw these footprints.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Fri, March 2, 2012 6:17 am     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy wrote a new post: Vancouver's Insite: Not Just Addicts Who Benefit

Dr. Peter Ferentzy
March 2, 2012 at 8:48am

I am a huge fan of Insite, Vancouver's famous safe injection clinic. It provides a model that soon — very soon — others will follow. So it was with great satisfaction that I spoke at Simon Fraser...

To comment on this post, follow the link below:


Thanks again, Peter.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Imagine how people will interact with each other when they know they
**     cannot harm another person, place, condition or thing without harming
**     themselves.  Imagine the difference when people, everywhere, accept
**     the divine truth:  as they give, so shall they receive.
**       —  (Mayan) Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#MC_Greenlight ]

Date: Sat, February 18, 2012 10:11 am     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "MC Greenlight"
Subject: A Thanks Beyond Words

Dear Orange —

You have no idea how grateful I am that you did the recon for this. Please read my story — the rehab to which I refer uses A.A. maliciously and only now, retrospectively, do I understand what it was all about. I had to figure it out on my own because only years after the fact, did I stumble across your article; but I had to really look for it using specific key words. This problem is so under covered it's virtually never been covered at all. It scares the shit out of me. Below you may find the icing to your cake. The irony is that the answers and evidence have always been there, but it's erased by the media with Whitney Houston/Amy Whinehouse stories that twist celebrity overdoses to propagate the political agenda. The rabbit hole goes so far down that it feels impossible to overcome the adamance of a conditioned society.

All the best,
MC Greenlight

"They tried to make me go to rehab & I said 'No, no, no!'"

*Remembering Amy Whinehouse in the memory she gave us. That's what Amy
would've wanted for themselves. The media often reports political
correctness, but less frequently conveys it with political respect.*

In 2006, I lost everything I'd ever worked for to appease the U.S. and New Jersey — everyone except myself. The municipal court charged me using local laws for misdemeanor possession of Cannabis (actually a civil violation). My lawyer assured me the charges would be dropped if I bit the bullet and allowed myself to be *rehabilitated* for this civil disobedience; even though the "criminal" event for which I was charged never even orbitted the criteria for addiction. I spent over a year in a fundamentalist rehab in Prescott, AZ that aggressively and abusively indoctrinated clients by making them dependent on them as an institution for every basic staple of life — shelter, food, social affirmation, etc. But this "assistance" and "protection" came with clear strings attached, which required me to always submit beneath the Prescott House because A.A. provided the only known "cure" for my "disease."

As a condition for community citizenship and acceptance, I had to send everything I owned and had earned to my parents, rendering me immediately dependent on their system. Administrators then contacted my family and manipulated them with hysteria (a crises of panic). But I never saw that injustice coming until it had already oppressed me; I never fathomed that my own family could be so easily startled into an irrational panic — one that drove them to shatter my civil and constitutional rights without rhyme or reason and so self-righteously. Ultimately, my parents broke laws that were so much more serious than the single one I broke with my choice to blaze a little weed (gasp!). They did so because they were told (and blindly accepted) that I simply had to — that there was no other way. 12 step meeting attendance ("the program") is widely used by courts to indoctrinate beliefs, which theoretically, leads to behavioral change (*Behavioral Modification Therapy*). Their prerogative was that this somehow protected me from myself.

But I was never a stranger to myself nor did I bother anyone other than the governemnt who simply imposed their disagreement upon me. I knew this was fundamentally unethical, but had no idea why. Periodically throughout my tenure clients arrived then immediately left before "the house" confiscated their democratic freedom. My brothers and I had to earn our way ("graduate") from "the house" which could only be approved by administrators without any of my input. This took as long as "house" politico wanted to detain me and I was never, at any time, explained why I was still there; I was forbidden to sit in on their "special lunches" in which they convened to discuss clients' progress. Some of my brothers actually endured this because they had allowed themselves to be convinced it would save them. The only reason I stayed was to get my ass out of legal trouble.

But many of my fellow compatriots really were addicts who could not restrain themselves from compulsively using substances. When the system decided to expel them from the house community (without explanation), they had nothing but drugs to once again console their loss. Their families disowned them — and the house citizenship was legally obliged to never again interact with them in any way; unless they desired the same fate. Several left and overdosed — and when we requested to attend the funerals, were denied our right to do so. Leo, one of my closest comrades at the house, spent his final days with Hep. C. in this mental prison getting his buttons pushed. Finally, after over a year of that torture, Leo went into self-preservation mode and rightfully spoke out to protect his last days.

Without rhyme or reason, the system disowned Leo and he spent the last month or so of his life in miserable pain. He died alone living effectively in exile — confined by physical discomfort and shame to a piece of shit motel room on mainstreet Prescott. His window overlooked the town square in the heart of Prescott: the commons. The Prescott House didn't blink an eye nor did it even remotely insinuate foul play. The House and its oligarchy shamelessly and unapologetically forced someone dying to unjustly suffer for what the medical community considers an "illness." This is inherently immoral and it proves why establishments like the U.N., U.S. government, and the P- House evade prosecution for implicating themselves in murder. Anyone who consults the content of legislation that permits this would know immediately how that was allowed to happen. Excessive ambiguity in domestic and international laws permit the selective application of conventions and doctrines. Believe it or not — social justice theory can be made to justify injustice when if government ignores everyone who disagrees with it; enough so to argue and re-engineer social justice to harm Leo and me.

Only in retrospect, do I now understand the Prescott House was (and is) an idea that doesn't suddenly "go away" when clients walk off the property. If you don't believe me, pick up the APA's DSM-IV diagnostic manual and see for yourself what it says about addiction. The last time I recently consulted it, the medical community still considers it the only "known" treatment for substance abuse (and use). Unforutnately, this isn't the case — the medical community itself refuses to abandon its reliance on A.A.; even though pharamecutically engineered medications have much greater success rates than the program. The House shares a personal relationship with Prescott PD, which allows it to continue to "rehabilitate" people who disagree with its ideology. Like the U.S. government, it twists and distorts "social justice" — this doesn't mean social justice can't be just — it usually is. But with that said, my "rehab experience" invariably escalated my distress and even played a role in deliberately orchestrating a situation that led multiple clients to their deaths. All the "house" had to do was point and command them to continue on down an already perilous path. This is exactly why the courts shut down "scared straight" in the 90's. But it proves we must always ask why — even when we're not supposed to.

Hello MC Greenlight,

Thank you for the story. I'll add that one to the list of horror stories.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     My enemies I can handle, but Lord save me from
**      those who would do unto me for my own good.
**        —  Orange as a young hippie, 1968

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Mary_M ]

Date: Tue, February 28, 2012 1:17 pm     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "Mary M."
Subject: 12 step recovery

Are you crazy? Maybe AA does not help everyone but it does help some. I am a member of NA so I guess you probably come to the same conclusion about us. I have a life NA taught me to look at myself I am not dependent on NA. I came to NA out of prison, a high school drop out and divorced after being married at age 15. Today I hold a Masters Degree, I have a career and a beautiful family. Before I became clean I tried psychiatry, many treatment centers, and other programs. I have been clean 19 years, I have a career, I have a family and I am clean because of a relationship with God and good friends in NA who supported me. NA is not my life it is a tool. I agree 12 step programs are not for everyone but I am ok with whatever it takes to get clean. I wonder how many people died because of this article? Mary

Hello Mary,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations for getting a grip and quitting your bad habits. And congratulations for making something of your life after you quit doping and got out of prison.

You try to imply that somehow Narcotics Anonymous got you your Master's Degree. I doubt that. Did they take your exams for you?

You also try to imply that N.A. "worked" when other things like psychiatry did not work. (I have no doubts that the treatment centers did not work. They are just 12-Step cult indoctrination centers.) You are overlooking the fact that maturing out of addictive behavior takes time, and people tend to give the credit to whatever they were doing when they finally quit drinking or doping. The essence of finally quitting forever is just learning that you cannot indulge even a little bit or you will go back down that slippery slope again. (I know, I speak from experience.) Whether you go to some meetings at the time that you learn that is irrelevant.

What you call "helping some" isn't good enough. I'm sure that A.A. and N.A. do "help some". That is, they give a little moral support and encouragement to some people who are wavering. And they give some companionship. BUT both A.A. and N.A. kill more people than they help. The false teachings like that you are "powerless over alcohol", and "powerless over our addiction" hurt more people than they help. Then there is the guilt-inducing confession routine that is passed off as spirituality. Just foisting an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties on sick people is not "helping them". Nor does such a cult religion cause good things.

That has been verified again and again.

  1. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who loves A.A. so much that he became a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees, shoved A.A. treatment on alcoholics for many many years, and he tracked his first 100 patients for eight years. At the end of the eight years, the score was 5 continuously sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. Five "helped" and 29 dead. I don't call that help. (Then consider that 5 out of a hundred is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics — that is how many will quit each year all on their own, without any A.A. "help" or treatment.)

  2. Dr. Diana C. Walsh found that A.A. treatment made alcoholics require more expensive hospitalization.

  3. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. caused alcoholics to go on much worse binges.

  4. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests.

  5. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that just having a doctor talk to an alcoholic and his wife for one hour, telling him that he must quit drinking or he will die, was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.

  6. Then my own experience at N.A. meetings was: At the start of every meeting, the group secretary asks, "Can we see a show of hands of people who have a year or more clean and sober to show that this program works?" And about 3 hands out of 50 go up. On a good night, they might get 5 out of 75. (That was the Burnside Blues meeting in downtown Portland, OR.)

    Note that the group secretary never asked, "Can we see a show of hands of people who have a year or more clean and sober without doing the 12-Step routine to show that heretical cult religion is completely unnecessary for clean and sober living?"

    That's when I would have raised my hand.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you've sold your soul to the devil, in effect, it's
**     profoundly human to talk yourself into believing that
**     what you got in exchange was worth the price.
**       ==  The Archdruid Report
**        tyranny-of-temporary.html

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#David_M ]

Date: Mon, February 27, 2012 4:32 pm     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "David M."
Subject: curious

I am curious as to why you have put so much energy into this work. What is that about?

Hello David,

Thanks for the question. It's very simple: People are getting hurt by quackery and fraud, and somebody has to speak out.

For more information, you can see:

  1. The people hurt — the list of horror stories.

  2. Who are you?

  3. How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."
**       ==  Abraham Lincoln

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Date: Tue, February 28, 2012 3:44 pm     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: fyi

Thanks for your reply.
Attached is something for you to look at.

Size: 252 k
Type: application/pdf

Hello again, Hetu-Ahin,

That document is a good example of Pseudo-intellectual Bull. That style of propaganda appears to be very scholarly, but it is really a mess of confusing language, misleading statements, and citations of other untrue propaganda articles.

Take these lines from the first page, for example:

Millions of individuals are current members in more than 180 countries, and more than 28 million AA "Big Books" (the main AA text) have sold making it one of the highest selling non-fiction books of all time (Humphreys 2004; AA 2008; Kelly and Yeterian 2008).

That is the propaganda trick called Appeal to Numbers (Argumentum ad Numerum) — just bandy about big numbers and try to fool the local yokels into thinking that this must be a good thing because the numbers are so big.

The "Millions" number is a lie, pure and simple. Alcoholics Anonymous does not have even 2 million members in the entire world, never mind 2 million sober members.
(Look here: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters216.html#churn)
And who cares how many copies of the Big Book have been sold?
Scientology also sells lots of books, and they also brag about how many books they sell. They brag that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, is one of the best-selling authors in the world.
Does that make Scientology a great force for sanity in this world?
Does that mean that you should give your mind and your money to Scientology?

Need I even mention that facts that Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto were also big hits that sold millions of copies?

Notice the reference to Humphries. When they start citing Humphries and Moos, you know that you are reading deceptive A.A. promotional literature. Look here for more about those propagandists:

  1. Keith Humphries' and Rudolf Moos' propaganda
  2. the pathetic Moos and Humphries propaganda
  3. more Moos

The authors also cited Project MATCH repeatedly, which was a failed experiment that produced muddled results where nothing appeared to work any better than anything else, and they had no control group so they could not show that any treatment program worked any better than no treatment. We discussed that before, just recently, here.

The very first line of the article is a lie:

Rigorous reviews of the science on the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) indicate that AA and related 12-step treatment are at least as helpful as other intervention approaches.

That is not true at all. Careful controlled studies of A.A. have shown that A.A. kills, and there has never been a controlled study that showed that A.A. worked. Rather, the evidence says that exposure to A.A. teachings and practices has a negative influence, and makes sick people worse, and even elevates the death rate. I just wrote that out again, in a previous letter, just a few minutes ago, so I'll point you to it, here.

So what "science" did they "rigorously review"? More propaganda articles from other A.A. boosters? Yes, that is exactly what they did. That is not science. Science is doing carefully controlled experiments to see what reality has to teach us.

The next line is equally untrue:

Exactly how AA achieves these beneficial outcomes is less well understood, yet, greater elucidation of AA's mechanisms could inform our understanding of addiction recovery and the timing and content of alcohol-related interventions.

They are assuming facts not in evidence. A.A. does not produce "beneficial outcomes". Then, the jabber about "greater elucidation of AA's mechanisms" is more high-falutin' B.S. If they want to understand how A.A. works, they can consult any good text on brainwashing and cult indoctrination.

Heck, they can even try reading The Cult Test, and Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult. They will learn a lot about how A.A. works from that. I notice that was not listed in the bibliography. They could have listed it — they did their paper in 2009, and the Cult Test has existed since 2001. Surely they didn't miss that in their "rigorous" search of the literature.

Down on page 5 they start actually considering the success rate of A.A. treatment, and what do they rely on? The faked studies by Moos and Humphries. I've already analyzed their so-called studies and found them to be a frauds. (See links above.) Moos and Humphries twist the facts and distort the numbers to make it look like A.A. works, and they have been doing that for many, many years.

And that is not just my opinion. I was just rereading an article by the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction that criticized previous pro-A.A. articles — articles that claimed good results for A.A., and that claimed that A.A. was better than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — for many failings like bad math, no control group, mixed teachings (teaching 12-Step superstitions in CBT courses), cherry picking, self-reporting (the subjects lied when they said they were sober), and unrealistic environments. See: orange-letters247.html#Clark_M

And the International Journal very specifically repeatedly criticized Moos for his faulty studies that had no controls:

Claims for effectiveness of the 12-Step intervention continue to be based on studies lacking a no-treatment control (e.g., Moos, 2003). Currently, assessment of (e.g. Marlatt, Witkiewitz, Dillworth, Bowen, Parks, Macpherson, Lonczak, Larimer, Simpson, Blume, & Crutcher, 2004) and claims of effectiveness for (e.g. Moos, 2003; Moos, Finney, Ouimette, & Suchinsky, 1999; Morgenstern, Blanchard, Morgan, Labouvie & Hayaki, 2001) 12-Step interventions rely on a group of published reports generated from a study of patients who entered U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) substance abuse treatment programs and participated in a multisite study. Although as in other studies of 12-step interventions there was no control for comparison to no treatment, a number of features (Moos et al., 1999) establish the study as the most powerful evaluation to date of effectiveness of 12-Step based intervention for substance abuse: large (intake n = 3699) sample size, replication across 15 sites, and a naturalistic design drawing data from real clinical settings.
      Here, results and conclusions reported from this study are re-evaluated based on a critical analysis of design, methodology and construction of outcome measures using published reports (Finney, Noyes, Coutts, & Moos, 1998; Ouimette, Finney & Moos, 1997; Ouimette, Moos, & Finney, 1998) along with clarifying information and assessment instruments provided by the researchers (R.H. Moos, personal communication).

Then the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction proceeded to rip apart that influential Moos study, and show it to be completely invalid, just a fraud. Read that article. It's worth reading.

So this paper that assumes that A.A. works and produces "beneficial outcomes" is actually based on faked tests that are full of misinformation, bad practices, bad numbers, and bad logic. That is really just standard operating procedure for the 12-Step propaganda industry. That is why A.A. is a cult, not a cure.

Remember that the "recovery industry" or "rehab business" is a $20 billion per year scam, just in the USA. (Heaven only knows how much it adds up to in the rest of the world.) The salesmen of that quackery will tell a lot of lies for $20 billion.

You should find this line from the International Journal particularly interesting, since you claim to be an atheist and should like rational thinking:

Completion of the first six steps inculcates subjects in the 12-Step concepts of powerlessness, moral culpability, and the external efficacy of a magical power or force, all concepts external to cognitive-behavioral therapy.

In other words, A.A. teachings are the opposite of any kind of rational recovery.

Then this Kelly, et. al., paper just goes on and on, singing the praises of A.A., all based on the fraudulent papers of Moos and Humphries and Humphries and Moos:

Compelling evidence for the cost-benefit effects of 12-step approaches to treatment has also been shown. A large multi-site study of US Veterans Administration (VA) intensive treatment programs compared the 1-year outcomes of patients treated in either intensive CBT or 12-step treatment. Those treated in 12-step treatment settings had substantially greater 12-step group participation than patients treated in CBT programs, who received twice the number of outpatient visits and significantly more inpatient mental health days. This difference in professional service utilization resulted in 64% higher annual costs for CBT than for 12-step programs. Notably, the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients across the two types of programs at intake were comparable. The outcomes were comparable also, except that patients treated in 12-step programs had higher rates of abstinence (46% vs. 36%; Humphreys and Moos 2001).
      A 2-year follow-up of the multi-site VA sample (Humphreys and Moos 2007) found a substantially higher abstinence rate among patients treated in 12-step (50%) compared to CBT (37%) programs. Again, patients from 12-step programs were more AA-involved than CBT patients, while CBT patients relied more on outpatient and inpatient mental health services. This resulted in 30% lower costs for those treated in 12-step programs (savings of $2440 per patient) while achieving significantly better abstinence rates. These results were consistent with earlier findings in a non-VA sample that showed 45% lower treatment costs over a 3-year period for AA attendees compared to those electing outpatient care (Humphreys and Moos 1996).

I could continue, ripping apart every paragraph of this paper, but what's the point?

However, there are a few more interesting points to mention: Down on the sixth page, they say,

How does AA help individuals recover from alcohol dependence?

Contrary to AA's language and somewhat mystical terminology documented in its main texts (AA 1939, 1953, 2001) one might argue that its mechanisms could be explained by ordinary means, such as through common processes of change (e.g., by increasing and/or maintaining motivation, self-efficacy, and coping skills). With equal validity, one might argue that AA works through practices specific to AA (e.g., working the 12-steps) or by providing access to a low-risk social network. It may be through some combination, all, or none of the above. In this section, we attempt to clarify how AA works by first describing AA's own proposed mechanisms, and then by summarizing the empirical literature regarding what is currently known about how AA may exert its effects.

They almost make sense there, except that they are trying to argue that the A.A. magical, mystical practices actually work, which they don't. Again, the cornerstone of their entire paper is the mistaken assumption that Moos and Humphries told the truth about the A.A. recovery rate, which they didn't do. So this entire paper is much ado about nothing.

Still, these authors then become more entertaining as they tap-dance around the concepts of magical healing, and try to dress up such superstition in the trappings of academia:

How change occurs from AA's own perspective

Given that AA grew out of a religio-spiritual tradition rather than an academic or scientific one, a coherent or consistent description of AA's purported mechanisms can be difficult to grasp from its main texts (AA 1939, 1953). Some change mechanisms (i.e., the 12-steps) and their effects are made clear: "The fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows, and toward God's universe" (AA 2001, p. 25).

      On the other hand, the social and fellowship aspects inherent in group meetings are more implicit in much of AA's writings, especially those in the Big Book (1939). This may be because the fellowship was largely non-existent at the time this book was written and published (with less than 100 members across two states, Ohio and New York; AA 2001) and the original main text body has not been changed, apart from forewords to each subsequent edition (AA 2001). However, we believe it is safe to say that AA facilitates change via two broadly defined components: the AA "program", exemplified in the 12 steps, and the AA "fellowship", characterized by the network of formal and informal social gatherings and communications between meetings.

      The central proposed mechanism of recovery from alcohol addiction according to AA is through a "psychic change" (AA 2001, p. xxvi), "spiritual experience", or "spiritual awakening" (AA 2001, Appendix II) achieved through completion of the 12-step program (as noted in Step 12: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps . . ."). A measurable definition of a spiritual "experience" or "awakening" has eluded many (Galanter 2007b). Although AA states that this "awakening" can take the form of a sudden shift in belief and perspective, it also characterizes this transformation as a gradual change of an "educational variety" that leads to ". . . a profound alteration in [his] reaction to life" (AA 2001, Appendix II). This is not only associated with belief in a "higher power", but also involves concrete changes in specific attitudes and behaviors. Alcohol treatment researchers have subsequently proposed that some of these attitudinal or behavioral shifts may be consistent with those mobilized in other behaviorally-oriented treatments (McCrady 1994). Thus, although the language and concepts may differ on the surface, underneath the same ultimate (common) processes may be operating. Therefore, AA identifies internal cognitive- affective and spiritual changes arising out of engagement in AA-prescribed behaviors, and, as will be explored in more detail shortly, varying alcohol researchers have alternately considered these purported mechanisms as AA-specific and as common factors of behavior change.

      Although often implicit in AA's own writings on how AA conveys its beneficial effects, another major feature of Alcoholics Anonymous is the social or "fellowship" dimension.

Again, all of the observed mental changes can be explained by a few good textbooks about brainwashing and cult indoctrination. And The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III or DSM-IV) also comes in handy.

And again, all of this jabber about "change" is based on the mistaken assumption that A.A. makes some good changes, which the authors get from fraudulent papers that declare that A.A. is a success when it isn't.

Date: Tue, February 28, 2012 4:06 pm     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: A little discussion

Something about that old Vaillant study is that the cohorts weren't matched.
It's not unreasonable to suppose a lot of the people going into aa are those that have tried to quit by themselves first, and/or had their consultation with a doctor, and/or of had other forms of intervention.
Given that, having roughly comparable abstinence/social drinking outcomes looks very good for aa.
What percentage of serious hardcore chronic alcoholics spontaneously recover? Zero?

No, no, no. You have been listening to A.A. propaganda — their story that you will die without the cult. What the doctors and medical schools say is that about 50% of all alcoholics and addicts finally quit their self-destructive behavior, and most of the successful quitters do it alone, on their own. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health says that 75% of the successful quitters do it alone. The Harvard Medical School says that 80% of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, on their own. Look here for the rest of the story.

I don't follow your logic about the Vaillant study. No matter what the treatment is, or what the recovery group is, a lot of the patients will have had previous experiences with quitting and relapsing, or trying to quit, and failing. That is just normal, and doesn't say anything about any particular treatment modality.

Dr. Vaillant synthesized his control group from a random sampling of untreated alcoholics. I'm sure that many of them also had plenty of experience with previous treatment, or A.A., and relapses. So what cohort was "unmatched"?

I also do think that there is a vast difference between being a member of aa — which means desiring to stop drinking and saying you're a member of aa, and working the program. The latter involves a lot — daily prayer, meditation, inventory, gratitude list — and really you're supposed to be doing step 10 all day as well.

So what percentage of those who work the program get better? Well, maybe a lot more than 30-40.

This gives a very different picture from the one you offer.

Do you have any documentation or studies or tests to support that, or are you just guessing?

The fact remains that exposure to A.A. teachings and practices has a negative influence, and makes sick people worse, and even raises the death rate.

The argument that the drunk people did not "work The Program right" is a standard A.A. dodge, to avoid admitting that "The Program" has a high failure rate.

  1. If someone quits drinking, claim that he worked The Program right, even if he didn't.
  2. If someone does not quit drinking, claim that he didn't work The Program right, even if he did.

There is still zero evidence that "working The Program right" makes people quit drinking. The evidence is that The Program is better at making people binge and die.

Feel free to post any of our correspondence, but please keep me anonymous. You can call me 'Hetu-Ahin'.


Date: Tue, February 28, 2012 5:21 pm     (answered 3 March 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: and a little more

I don't know to what extent you are right about the founders and the cult element of aa at certain times and places. I just have no view.

In London, England, right now it isn't like that.

Here is what I found

Meetings: (i) Regular reminder of risk and gravity of relapse (ii) Learning from experience of many other alcoholics (iii) Somewhere to go for company instead of drinking (iv) Unconditional acceptance and friendship (lots of hugs).

Steps (i) Recognition of one's inability to control drinking (ii) Acceptance of the need for help (iii) Encouragement of honesty and good behaviour, mandate to make amends to those we have harmed to deal with guilt, practice dealing with fear. (iii) Encouragement to develop a realistic view of oneself, avoiding the stress of a false image, allowing gratitude for desirable qualities (iv) Emotion processing: bring feelings to consciousness, recognize them share them with others: they dissipate, or, if not, we accept them as parts of our psyche, learn to live with them, become their friends (v) Mandate to provide service to others bolstering self-worth, alleviating low self-esteem. (vi) Meditation to alleviate stress. (v) Prayer (for theists), good for health.

Fellowship: a support network to call in case upon in case of crisis.

Sponsor: with whom to share, from whom to get advice, to call in upon in case of crisis.

Serenity: to accept the things we cannot change, so that we don't get wound up.

Courage: to change the things we can so we gain fulfillment from action instead of a feeling of uselessness as the fruit of procrastination.

There is negligible pressure on anyone to do or believe anything. I am an atheist, so is my sponsor. I did the steps having removed the word 'God' from them. At one meeting there was a sign up saying 'who are you to say there is no God?'. I asked that this be taken down. After two meetings and a vote, it was taken down.
Nobody goes around trying to recruit drunks.
Nobody makes any money. Nobody has any status or any opportunity to be revered or anything like that. Nobody has any means, in the program, to exploit anyone else. Basically we are just trying to help each other.

Does anything very different go on the States? I am just asking, out of curiosity, because I don't know.



Your rewrite of the 12 Steps is interesting. You have made them into something very different from the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Removing God from the 12 Steps makes them into an exercise in lunacy. I don't mean to be insulting, but it is flat-out crazy to imagine that somebody who isn't there will restore you to sanity in Step 2, and take care of your will and your life for you in Step 3, and remove your defects in Step 7, and talk to you in a séance in Step 11 and give you work orders and power, and then give you a "spiritual experience" or "spiritual awakening" in Step 12. That is a lot for somebody who doesn't exist to do.

Now your rewrite of the Steps removes many of those problems by making it sound more like a secular group therapy session. You should then recognize that you are not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and you are not practicing the A.A. program. You belong to a different organization, one of your own creation. You have just appropriated the name "Alcoholics Anonymous".

By the way, yes, A.A. is very crazy in the USA. In spite of their jabber about Freedom of Religion, you would start a civil war with your secular talk if you did it in American A.A. meetings. Remove God from the Program? No way in Hell.

A.A. in the USA is like this:

Good Morning,
This is GOD!
I will be handling all your
problems today. I will
not need your help —
So, have a good day.
== Found posted on the door of a 12-Step counselor
  • "You are exactly where God wants you to be."
  • "God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle."
  • "Let Go and Let God."
  • "Our Need Is God's Opportunity."
  • "Quit Playing God."
  • "EGO = Easing God Out."
  • "EGO = Edging God Out."
  • "BIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old Knowledge."
  • "By the grace of God and the fellowship at AA I am alive today."
  • "God is never late."
  • "Man's extremity is God's opportunity."
  • "If God Seems Far Away, Who Moved?"
  • "I Can't Handle It. God, You Take Over."
  • "Believe In God Or Be God."
  • "If you can't believe, then believe that I believe."
  • "But for the Grace of God."
  • "I Can't... God Can... I Think I'll Let Him."
  • "I Can't Handle It, God. I'll Give It To You."
  • "When man listens, God speaks."
  • "I pray to God every day that I never get the idea that I can run my own life."
  • "A.A. is about finding God."
  • "If you have a problem believing in God, go to an A.A. meeting and you'll see miracle, after miracle, after miracle. Seeing is believing."
  • "Give to God and God will give to you."
  • "If you want to feel better right away, ask God to help you be of service."
  • "When I ask for patience, God gives me a traffic jam."
  • "When God closes one door, he always opens another — but sometimes he makes us wait out in the hallway for a while."
  • "If you only pray when you need something fixed, you're turning God into a repairman."
  • "Praying is asking God for help, meditating is listening for God's answer."
  • "What is God's Will for me today?"
  • "Pray as if everything depended on God; work as if everything depends on ourselves."
  • "Trust in God, clean house, and work with others."
  • "AA leads us to God, and God leads us to ourselves."
  • "We are not different from others, God just made us special."
  • "The Miracle of Healing that is God's Gift — Recovery."
  • "All of us have to ask ourselves about the GOD idea... Either he is the all-knowing master of time, space and dimension... or there is a lot of random chance in our lives and universe."
  • "Meds quiet the still small voice of God."
  • "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
  • "Is it odd, or is it God?"
  • "Religion is when man tells you about God, a Cult is when man tells you he is God, and 12-Step is when God tells you about yourself."

"I will center my thoughts on a Higher Power. I will surrender all to his power within me. I will become a soldier for this power, feeling the might of the spiritual army as it exists in my life today. I will allow a wave of spiritual union to connect me through my gratitude, obedience, and discipline to this Higher Power. Let me allow this power to lead me through the orders of the day."
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, August 27, page 248.

"I will lock arms today and move forward in the company of those who need me. I need them also."
The Promise of a New Day: A Book of Daily Meditations, Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg, Hazelden, November 4.

Welcome to the Nazi Army. Sieg Heil! "Onward Christian Soldiers", and all of that.

You should also see Clancy I. and his Pacific Group. Be aware of the fact that they have sent out missionaries, and now have groups in London and Plymouth, and they are coming for you. They fully intend to take over A.A., and they might succeed. Then you will see first-hand what I am talking about.

Oh, and how they do it is: They invade a group in large numbers, so that they can vote out the current leadership at the next business meeting, and install their own people. Then they change the rules so that only people who are sponsored by Clancy or his "spiritual descendents" can vote in future elections — that is, only Clancy's sponsees, grand-sponsees, great-grand-sponsees, and so on. Then they move on to another group, and take over that one, too. And then another, and another. Then, when they have taken over the majority of the groups in an area, they take over the area inter-group. You can see where that leads. They can just work their way up the pyramid until they have taken over the whole thing. For more of that story, see:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.
**      It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
**        ==  Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)

[The next letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

May 27, 2009, Wednesday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Canada Goose Goslings
Goslings of the Family of 9

Canada Goose Goslings
Goslings of the Family of 9

Canada Goose goslings
Goslings of the Family of 9

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

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Last updated 20 December 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters291.html