Letters, We Get Mail, CCCVIII

May 02, 2012, Wednesday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Timid geese fleeing. This is the family of 3.
These geese miss out on a lot of food because they swim away from me when they see me coming. I put down piles of oatmeal and back off to let them return and get it.

Canada Goose goslings
Opportunistic Ducks
The ducks know exactly what is going on, and they are not afraid, so they move in and start gobbling down the food before the geese come back.

Canada Goose goslings
The geese are returning, but not quite fast enough.

Canada Goose goslings
Finally, the goslings get some of the oatmeal.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron taking off
They too, are very timid and take wing whenever I come near.

Great Blue Heron and Geese
Great Blue Heron landing near geese.
They pretty much ignore each other, as neither one eats the other, or competes for the same food supply. However, herons will eat goose eggs if they can get them.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Andrew_S ]

Date: Fri, May 25, 2012 11:49 am     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Andrew S."
Subject: Re:

Orange, you do not understand my central point.

Yes, AA is an objectively failed treatment for alcoholism. I agree with you 100% on that point.

When you distort the truth and claim to be in an expert in a field that you have no credentials or experience in, you lose personal integrity and honor EVEN IF YOUR CENTRAL THESIS IS TRUE.

It would be irresponsible of me to give medical advice to people, even if it generally would correlate with a doctor's diagnosis. Why? I don't have the experience or resources to react appropriately if an emergency arises. I don't have a legal duty to protect the people seeking my advice. I don't have liability insurance, etc.

Your central thesis is true; but your supporting arguments are biased, non-objective propaganda against AA presented in a angry, hostile and paranoid tone.

In the short term, the goal of the addict or alcoholic is to solve their immediate lifestyle problems. In the long-term it is to gain perspective and self-actualization in their own life. Using distortion, bias and dishonesty is dangerous in the long-term for people. We should strive to see things for what they are, not for what we fear them to be or what we wish them to be.

It is foolish, reckless distortion to lump AA with the Nazi party or the Jim Jones People's Church. A.A. does not recruit deceptively. A.A. does not hide what membership eventually will entail. Members can leave at any point. A.A. focuses on helping people grow, while cults use their members to promote the growth of the cult and increase the cult leader's power and wealth.

Your characterization of AA as a cult is a distorted, biased piece of wishful thinking, not objective journalism. If this were polished, professional journalism, you would be able to publish it in Harper's or The Atlantic.

Yes, the AA process is ineffective. But its aim isn't to elevate the president of AA to riches and fame. AA is not a cult. It is a mis-guided and ineffective program.


Hello again, Andrew,

Thanks for the letter.

This is the core of your complaint:

Your central thesis is true; but your supporting arguments are biased, non-objective propaganda against AA presented in a angry, hostile and paranoid tone.

You agree that I am right when I say that A.A. does not work, and you just complain about my writing style as I criticize A.A.?

Well, since A.A. doesn't work, and is just wasting people's time, money, and lives, and knowingly lying about its success rate, don't you think some hostility is in order? Such behavior is beneath contempt. Knowingly foisting quack medicine on sick people is really a low, vile, crime.

Then you declared,

It is foolish, reckless distortion to lump AA with the Nazi party or the Jim Jones People's Church. A.A. does not recruit deceptively. A.A. does not hide what membership eventually will entail. Members can leave at any point. A.A. focuses on helping people grow, while cults use their members to promote the growth of the cult and increase the cult leader's power and wealth.

That is grossly, totally wrong.

  1. The first assumption of the Nazi philosophy is that the average man is incompetent and cannot be trusted to think for himself, so he should just obey a superior leader, and the highest duty of a citizen is to obey orders.

  2. Then the Nazi sympathizer Dr. Frank Buchman came along and declared that you have been defeated by sin, and that your only salvation was to surrender to God and obey God. But then he declared that you are incompetent to hear the Voice of God because you are so sinful, so you should just do what your sponsor and other Oxford Group elders tell you to do.

  3. Then Bill Wilson came along and copied Buchman and declared that you have been defeated by alcohol, and only surrender to God will save you, and you must spend your life following the dictates of God. But since you are "thinking alcoholically", you are not qualified to hear the Voice of God telling you what to do in Step 11, so you should just do what your sponsor tells you to do.

  4. It's all the same garbage. It's all about making slaves of the little people.

  5. Then, the fact that Dr. Frank Buchman went to Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies year after year as the personal guest of the Gestapo leader Heinrich Himmler is just frosting on the cake. Just like Frank Buchman returning to New York from the 1936 Berlin Olympics and declaring, "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler..."

There is nothing unfair about comparing Alcoholics Anonymous to Rev. Jim Jones' People's Temple. Have you actually read any books about the People's Temple? The parallels with A.A. are appalling and quite striking. It's the same put-downs: "You are sinful and weak and inherently evil, and only following the leader will save you." You can start your reading with The Cult Test. You can also check out the list of books about The People's Temple in the bibliography, here.

Then, the rest of that paragraph is a list of untrue statements, and denial:

  1. A.A. does recruit deceptively.

  2. A.A. does hide from prospective recruits what membership entails.

  3. A.A. says that you cannot leave. If you leave, your fate will be "Jails, Institutions, or Death." And, "If you leave, you will come back on your knees." Thus, they use Phobia Induction and death threats to keep people in the cult.

    Also, what about all of the people who are sentenced to A.A. by a judge, parole officer, or "counselor" or "therapist" or "half-way house"? They are not free to leave.

  4. A.A. does not "focus on helping people grow." That is a delusional fairy tale, and just another standard P.R. slogan. Right now, there is a big debate going on over at "The FIX" web site about the rape of underage girls in A.A. That is hardly helping people to attain sobriety or "self-actualization".

    Again, because A.A. does not work, foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not "helping them to grow" or "helping them to self-actualize". It's all just a Big Lie.

  5. The last part of the last sentence is true:

    "Cults use their members to promote the growth of the cult and increase the cult leader's power and wealth."

    Yes, and that is what A.A. has been doing for the last 75 years. You have admitted that A.A. does not work, and yet they work tirelessly to promote A.A. and sucker in more victims, to get more A.A. members, and money, and power. They don't care that the A.A. "treatment" or "program" does not actually work. They don't care how many people get hurt. That is a cult.

Lastly, you declared,

Yes, the AA process is ineffective. But its aim isn't to elevate the president of AA to riches and fame.

Sorry, but that is wrong again. The previous President of A.A. Greg Muth was raking in $250,000 per year while he sued poor A.A. members in Mexico and Germany to get more illegal money. And Muth quietly slipped $469,000 to his lawyer friend Thomas Jasper as a going-away present. It looks like those criminals took A.A. for everything that they could get.

(There is much more on the A.A. financial affairs here.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You shall know them by the fruits of their labors."
**       ==  Jesus Christ

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#CR ]

Date: Sat, May 26, 2012 2:26 pm     (answered 27 May 2012)
From: "c"
Subject: Hey Orange

Thanks for everything you have done. My friend/acquaintance is taking a course, to work with alcoholics although I wouldn't call her qualified. I sent her a few copies of things on your site and she said her teacher would freak out if she showed him that. It makes me sick — a $15,000.00 course to learn A.A. is the only answer. They have 18-year-olds taking the course if they can afford it. Some things never change. It really makes me livid some time. Hope all is going well for you. Thanks for all you do.

Blessings All Ways,


Hello C R,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks.

Isn't that attitude really appalling? "You can't tell the truth." That is the essence of a cult. "Yes, we have this wonderful religious — not-a-religion — organization (that isn't organized) and we are spreading truth, spirituality, peace, and freedom throughout the world, and don't you dare to tell the truth about us."

And yes, it is sad that the course will just crank out more incompetent counselors with certificates. Straw-headed scarecrows with diplomas (as in The Wizard of Oz). Or coke-snorting child-rapers who are certified drug-and-alcohol counselors.

Why don't the students sue the school for fraud? Unless they are totally blind, they must eventually see that they got taught a bunch of nonsense, and were cheated out of their money.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Some people want to know the truth, and some
**     people want their favorite beliefs reaffirmed.

NOTE: 2012.05.28:
This subject has come up again. This is the famous Penn and Teller episode of Bullshit! that mocks Alcoholics Anonymous. Someone posted it in its entirely as a single file:


May 02, 2012, Wednesday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
A Canada Goose begging for bread
Again, notice the tongue out. And she was hissing softly through an open mouth. That is begging, rather than threatening.


5 Canada Goose goslings
Five goslings

Canada Goose family
The Family of 5. The fifth gosling is hidden in the grass or bushes somewhere.

Canada Goose family
The Family of 5 eating oatmeal

Canada Goose family
The Family of 3

Canada Goose families
Both families

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sat, May 26, 2012 9:45 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: More comments

Sorry about your egg. Hopefully, it really is just a slow egg.

Hi again, Meatbag,

I am keeping the egg warm — just in case — but I'm not holding my breath. Yes, it's disappointing. I was hoping for a cute little fluff-ball to care for. Oh well, maybe next year.

I know exactly the sort of "therapists" you're talking about. My worst one was actually a high school guidance counselor. Now, your average counselor is mostly qualified to tell students to go to college. They're pretty useless with actual trouble. This one was only an exception in the sense she was worse than useless. She acted like she had qualifications she didn't have by playing therapist, made some home drama and my then-undiagnosed depression worse, and had the nerve to complain when my grades didn't magically go up. Fortunately, she lost her job. Unfortunately, not before I ended up kicked out of school. And no, she would not let me stop seeing her.

Oh brother. You have my sympathy.

It reminds me of the Spam Song (Monte Python) — "spam everywhere". Except that in this case it's incompetence everywhere.

I don't have to worry about the Warm Springs thing for quite a while. I do need to get a different VR counselor first, since the current one is too far away from where my mother is moving to. Going by what little information I have, there's really no therapy involved, just helping disabled people acquire job skills and training. In this case, having a lot of psychobabble involved is a red flag. The one red flag in my mind right now is I could be there indefinitely. It wouldn't be a red flag if I have the ability to leave before they decide I should. And theoretically, I should be able to, since the stated goal is to make people with disabilities more independent. Let's see if that matches with reality.

Yes, that sounds suspicious. If they don't do psychotherapy, then why the psychobabble? Are they trying to fool the public into believing that they are offering treatment and services that they don't? Or are they hiding an agenda to "reform" the clients?

What I am most suspicious of in places like that is the condescending attitude of the staff. They start off pretending to be respectful of their clients, but that changes when the P.R. mask comes off. The same thing happens in many old peoples' homes. And in most drug and alcohol "treatment centers".

There are other options that would allow me to stay with my family. If Warm Springs passes the test, then it would have the most resources available for me. That's a big if, though.

Yes. Good luck.

Anyhow, it's late here. I hope the egg hatches. Is it still generating its own heat? That's a good sign it's still alive, since dead things don't do that. Maybe it's going to share a birthday (May 30) with me.

With 20-20 hindsight, I don't think it was generating its own heat. I think what I was seeing was the difference in temperature between a probe placed underneath the egg and one beside it. The one underneath was pressed against the cloth and got the heat coming up from below. The probe beside the egg was getting the air temperature around the egg, which was less.

I am also beginning to think that perhaps the change in coloration of the egg shell was due to decay, rather than development.

I am beginning to wonder if the egg was ever alive. Was it even fertilized? If the crippled mother had a mate, where was he? The whole thing may well be a lesson in how easy it is to get fooled by appearances.

Still, I'm keeping the egg warm a while longer, just in case. It's against all odds, but strange things do happen. The "Family of 5" goslings just became 6. About two weeks after hatching out their original five, the mother managed to get a slow egg to hatch, and now they have this extra-little cute fluff-ball. I know what happened there. Sometimes the mother lays one more egg after she starts sitting on her clutch. That egg will always be behind the others. When the rest of the brood hatches out, the mother takes them out to forage for food, and the remaining egg is left cool during the day. It doesn't develop any further while it is cool, so it falls further behind. The geese are out and about for two-thirds of the day, and only return to the nest to warm the remaining egg at night, so its development is really slowed down, and it gets later and later. Still, if the mother keeps on coming back to the nest and sitting on the egg at night, the slow egg can eventually hatch, like happened in the Family of 5 (which is now "The Family of 5+1").

But my egg was never left cool all day long, so I don't see any reason for it to be so late.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be careful about reading health books.
**     You may die of a misprint.
**           ==  Mark Twain (1835 — 1910)

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#George_B ]

Date: Sun, May 27, 2012 8:29 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "george b."
Subject: Religious background?

Hi, Orange.

First let me say I found your site, one day after entering an outpatient program, who lied to me about their program, as I specifically told them I had many objections to AA meetings. I stayed with the program and learned a few good things, but otherwise did not buy their program. With the help of your website I was able to reaffirm my suspicions and then SOME. Thank you for your service to those who really do keep an open mind ("brains not falling out").

For my question: I "had" a fairly religious (middle of the road Methodist) upbringing, and right away I felt some things were very wrong with their 12 step approach. I have read the various stats on who goes to AA, who has best chances for success in treatments, but I was wondering if a strong religious background has any bearing on whether someone who has been through all the hocus-pocus fundamental type religions use to get and "keep em' coming back". It seems to me that people who have not been exposed to religions indoctrinations before may be more inclined to accept the "spirituality" of AA, and vice versa. Have you run across any stats on that subject?

ps. CAN YOU ENABLE ME TO GET INTO YOUR FORUM? User name " georgeb50 "

Thanks again for all your work!

pps. My son spent 19 years on crack, had a child, married the mother, moved to Oregon, and been straight ever since. His experiences with "treatment centers etc." are why, in part, I was skeptical of AA to begin with.


Hello George,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I trust that you are doing well, and I'm happy to hear that your son is better too.

I don't have any statistics on people with religious backgrounds entering A.A., and what the results were. That brings up some very interesting questions though. It would be nice to see a study like that.

  1. First off, we would have to distinguish between the kinds of religious believers. Some people have very sophisticated ideas of theology, and some simple-minded people believe that God is Santa Claus and you can get whatever you want just by praying for it. Obviously, those two groups will have different reactions to the distorted theology of Alcoholics Anonymous.

  2. Then there is the question of just how well-informed the believers are. I find that the majority of the believers in A.A. have little or no real knowledge of the theology of Christianity, or any other religion, either. They "just believe". When they encounter the strange heretical theology of A.A., they uncritically accept the stuff because they don't know any better.

    The file The Heresy of the Twelve Steps describes many of those conflicts and contradictions.

I will find your registration and approve it. Thanks for letting me know. I get so many thousands of the spammers' fake registrations that it's easy to overlook a real human in the mess.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Note that any- and everything that keeps you from appreciating
**     your spiritual source is an impediment. This particularly
**     includes relying on someone else or some organization without
**     examining the truths that they insist you believe.
**       ==  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Inspiration Perpetual Flip Calendar, 19 December

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Jay_S ]

Date: Sun, May 27, 2012 9:04 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Jay S."
Subject: thanks

For a long time I struggled with drinking. Tried rehab, aa, yada yada ... relapsing constantly. I stumpled upon this:


I haven't had a drink in year ..

Hello Jay,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety.

Oh yes, I love that essay by Paul Roasberry, and have been mirroring it for about 10 years now:

A Cult Called AA by Paul Roasberry

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Try the "one-step" program, instead: just stop drinking.
**      Believe me: you can do it.
**       ==  Paul Roasberry

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#JP ]

Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 8:36 am     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Justin P."
Subject: Good work

Dear Orange,

I have been reading your site over the course of the last week with a great deal of interest. I have been an alcoholic since my mid-teens (I'm 29 now) and have been seeking recovery for the last five years. For three and a half years of that time I was in and around AA attending over 500 meetings, having two sponsors (one of which started drinking again despite devoting his life to AA) and even spending £20,000 ($35,000) on 12 step based rehab. During this period I managed 18 months of continuous sobriety. However, this was due to my own efforts and not AA and I started drinking again because nothing I had done actually resolved the underlying problem of intense cravings which got worse not better as time went on.

I am not naturally a good cult member as I am an agnostic and an individualist but there have been points over the last five years that I have been so emotionally vulnerable that I have actually started to believe this rubbish. The only facet of AA that I have found useful is the therapeutic value of discussing my drinking with others in the same situation. However, I have never been allowed to "take what I like and leave the rest" as there are always a few evangelical nutters who try and force AA dogma on other, more rational members. As a result, I have taken the view that AA has no part to play in my recovery moving forward.

When I started drinking again about 18 months ago the assertion that AA was the only solution to my problem had been hammered home to such a large extent that I really believed it. Knowing that it was never going to work for me and believing that there was no alternative I simply did nothing about my addictions and watched my life fall to pieces once again. Fortunately I have now discovered that there are numerous other treatment options available.

I am now nearly three months into a treatment plan which consists of medication (high dose Baclofen) to eliminate the cravings and regular support through non 12 step groups and forums such as mywayout.org together with certain beneficial lifestyle changes. Not only am I not drinking, I'm not constantly craving it either. There is a growing online movement of people utilizing these methods with a great deal of success . I strongly believe that the future of addiction treatment lies with appropriate medication accompanied with a support element tailored to the individual.

I will end with this: Whenever I have returned to AA after a relapse I have been told that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result". I have a friend who has been going to AA for 18 years and has never managed to stay sober for more than a few months at a time yet he keeps going to AA! Talk about insanity!

Once again thanks for your hard work it has been both enlightening and entertaining and you have given me a huge amount of ammunition for the next time I get into an argument with one of these cretins.

J P.

Hello J.P.,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and congratulations on your sobriety. And also your sanity.

Yes, isn't it funny how people can go to A.A. and relapse for 18 years and never see the obvious parallel to the A.A. slogan about "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Coincidentally, my doctor has me on Baclofen too, but low dosage. I take it to minimize muscle tremors. When I quit drinking, I had a problem with sudden muscle contractions, twitches, jerks, and what I called "micro-seizures". I attributed it to residual nerve damage from alcohol.

Later on, I heard about Baclofen being used in the treatment of alcoholism. Well, whatever works.

About the "beneficial lifestyle changes", all that I can say is, "Yes, yes, YES!" I also quit smoking, which was about the smartest thing that I could have done, because part of the reason for drinking was to kill the pain of tobacco slowly killing me.

And then I worked on eating better. Even just a little better. I never did a total revolution in my diet, but I definitely changed my diet from coffee and cigarettes to actual food, even fruits and vegetables and salads now and then. (Actually, maybe that is a total revolution, isn't it?) And now I consume vitamins like a fiend.

If you want some other opinions and suggestions from people who got sober, there are lists of lists here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "There is nothing quite like dying for convincing you that
**     you really need to take better care of your health."
**       ==  Me

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Jim ]

Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 4:41 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Grim Jim"
Subject: been years

I have lived through life's ups and downs these past few years without a thought about alcohol, and much less- "needing" a meeting, or that group coercion those cultists call "fellowship". LOL, NO thanks!

I have this site bookmarked just to check in from time to time. I am surprised that the AA cult is still puttering along after the whole scam has been busted here, there, and everywhere. I am glad you are still going strong and I am sure your site has done more good for drinkers than AA and it's 12 steps (to hell) has ever done for anyone.

I can honestly say that when I did go to meetings I never got anything out of them except the urge to kick some teeth out on the scum who prey on the gullible and the weak. I can also say that when I did go I never swallowed any of their garbage and made sure to tell anyone who wanted to listen about the Small Book, SOS, SMART, and when I found this site I guided them here.

It must get tiring listening to the endless excuses and nonsense the cultist throw your way but you have done tremendous good with this site and what you have done. I am glad people like you exist.

Well, back to life. A full life at that, filled with the joy of living and trying my best to be a benefit to myself, my children, and to the world.

I do feel sorry for the poor bastards who drank the AA Kool-Aid but I have no sympathy or kind thoughts about the scum at the top in AA who are nothing but sociopathic predators on those who are on the lower levels of their demented pyramid.

Hello Jim,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety. And of course I couldn't agree more.

You last note especially rang a bell: I also have special contempt for the people at the top who knowingly foist quackery on sick people. The "little people" at the bottom of the A.A. pyramid are just sick and confused and uninformed, and often mentally ill too, but the people at the top have college degrees, even Ph.D.s, and they know what they are doing when they fake the medical tests and manufacture false statistics. Those creeps should be put in prison (for fraud with government funds, for starters, and then for deliberate medical malpractice).

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives
**     enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and virtues.
**       ==  William Ellery Channing (1780—1842), Amer. Unit. Clergy

[The previous letter from Jackie_P is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Jackie_P ]

Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 12:50 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Jackie P."
Subject: Double Wow

> > I just stumbled across your "Orange Papers." Wow.
> >
> > What has made you so angry and bitter at AA? And at the idea of God, for
> > that matter?
> Hello Jackie,
> The reply is in the attached web page.
> Have a good day now.
> == Orange
> *          [email protected]       *
> *      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
> *      http://www.orange-papers.info/      *
> *    http://www.orange-papers.info/forum   *
> ** "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.

You must think i'm pretty stupid if you thought I would actually open a link from someone who has as much anger and hate as you do. But I'm not and I didn't.

Hello again, Jackie,

It's a shame that you are so paranoid that you won't read a letter. I always answer letters with web pages. The same text that gets posted to my web site is also sent as the reply. That saves me from having to type two different answers. Also, the links won't work if I don't write in HTML.

Me, I run Linux so that I don't have to worry about all of those Windoze viruses and Trojan Horses and worms. And that means that I cannot accidentally spread one, either.

And I would never send one out deliberately. Don't you think that the Steppers would turn me in to the FBI in a flat minute if I ever did that? Do you imagine that I would really be so stupid as to commit suicide that way?

If you want to read the answer to your last letter, you can also read it online here:


There are lots of people in AA who don't understand what it's truly about, and some of them will mislead you or let you down. I know because it happened to me and I felt like I'd been fed a big lie. I kind of dropped out for a few years (but not completely).

I understand what A.A. is about. It's a cult religion. You are trying to use the "just a few bad apples" argument to minimize and deny the bad aspects of A.A.

But I don't want to drink and I don't want to be alone, and I'm happier in AA than out of it. The people in the program are human and they make mistakes and hurt people, just like people everywhere. I had to forgive the ones who hurt me — it took years — and focus more on what I could conrtribute to AA than on what I could get from it.

I'm happier today than I've ever been in my life, and it's primarily because of my involvement in AA and my willingness to give more than I receive.

Again, the fact that you are happy in a cult doesn't make it a good cult. Tom Cruise says that he is really happy in Scientology, too.

I hope you find something that works for you and enablles you to be happy and enjoy life — you deserve it as much as any other human being on this

What that means is that you hope that I will eventually conform and come to agree with you and join your cult. Not gonna happen.

By the way, I have 11 years clean and sober now, and I'm quite happy. So I "found something that works" long ago.

And guess what works?

"Just don't take that first drink, not ever, no matter what."

Follow that one rule and you don't need any others.

...Although I do also follow this rule:

"Just don't smoke that first cigarette, not ever, no matter what."

That saves me from being sick from the addiction that killed Bill Wilson.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Today's conformity is... the retreat from controversiality.
**         ==  Herman Kahn

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Richard_B ]

Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 7:00 pm     (answered 30 May 2012)
From: "Richard B."
Subject: Journalist Examines Inner Workings Of Alcoholics Anonymous | Here & Now

Richard B here again.

This is a bit old, but the comments, most of them vengeful or condescending, are a vivid demonstration of the degree to which AA warps people's thinking.

And the poor interviewee is a friend of AA for goodness sake!


Hello again, Richard,

Thanks for the link. That interview is appalling. The woman interviewer didn't have a clue. She just raved about the huge numbers of people whom A.A. had "helped". She didn't even question her interviewee when he grandly claimed that A.A. had a 30% success rate. She is either incompetent or an A.A. member.

Still, it's a very interesting white-wash of the problems in A.A.

Date: Mon, May 28, 2012 8:55 pm
From: "Richard B."
Subject: JAMA Network | JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association | Oct 14, 1939

Richard B. here again.

I found it!

How many people have seen the review of "Alcoholics Anonymous" that ran in a 1939 number of the Journal of the American Medical Association?



Hi again, Richard,

Thanks for the link. Oh yes, isn't that JAMA put-down of the Big Book rich?

The book contains instructions as to how to intrigue the alcoholic addict into the acceptance of divine guidance in place of alcohol in terms strongly reminiscent of Dale Carnegie and the adherents of the Buchman ("Oxford") movement. The one valid thing in the book is the recognition of the seriousness of addiction to alcohol. Other than this, the book has no scientific merit or interest.

I have a copy of that AMA book review buried in the web page on propaganda techniques, here:


Perhaps I should feature it more prominently.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

May 02, 2012, Wednesday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Fernhill Wetlands
Fernhill Wetlands, view from the far side of the pond.

Fernhill Wetlands
Fernhill Wetlands, view from the near side of the pond.
See the three big trees in the center of the picture? The Bald Eagles have a nest in the right-hand tree, with one baby in the nest.

May 05, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 5, plus 1
We got a pleasant surprise this day. The "Family of 5" showed up with a new little gosling. It was a very late arrival, two weeks late. Obviously, the mother had a slow egg remaining in the nest. She would take her hatched babies out foraging for food during the day, and then return to the nest at night and sit on that last remaining egg, and finally, it got enough "warm time" to finish its development and hatch. The new gosling is the littlest one in the center of the picture.
By the way, that is one lucky egg. Two weeks of sitting unguarded during the day, and nothing found it and ate it. Now that is luck.

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 3

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html#Anonymous ]

Date: Tue, May 29, 2012 4:09 pm     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: RE: What's Not Good About A.A.

The below is just my $0.02. I'd prefer if you kept this correspondance between us, but ultimately it is up to you what you decide to do with it. If any of the below came off as representation of any organization, cause, or person other than myself, was not intended and was by mistake. Any typos, grammatical errors, etc.. well, you get the point. This is just my opinion and nothing more. If you would like to respond, you are more than welcome to. I will most definitely read your response, but will probably not be replying.

Hello Anonymous,

I will publish this question, and I will answer it, because it is an important question. But I will keep you anonymous, so you need not worry about confidentiality.

Please do not take it as anything other than "I just don't have a heck of a lot of time". In fact, I'm already late for something, so here we go...

"1. It doesn't work."

False. I won't get into very much detail, but your statement is wrong. A.A. worked for me (I'm sure you've heard that more times than you can count), and you even go on to say "...A.A. kills one patient for each one that it saves...". How can it not work, yet "save" people at the same time? And you really think A.A., as an organization, ACTUALLY kills people? It strikes me a bit funny that society doesn't accept "I am an alcoholic" as an excuse for anything, yet you'll blame A.A. for alcoholism related deaths, not alcoholism itself, despite alcoholism being a self-injurious disease.

Right. The first confusion is in just what constitutes "help" or "saving". Alcoholics Anonymous is good at claiming undue credit. There are plenty of people who are going to quit drinking, because they have just had it with being so sick all of the time, and having alcohol mess up their lives. Those are the cases of normal spontaneous remission. Whenever one of those people walks into an A.A. meeting, A.A. is quick to claim that it saved them, or "helped" them. And A.A. wants to count them as its success rate. But A.A. is not due the credit for those people, even though they may have attended A.A. meetings while they quit drinking. I suppose I should modify that sentence to read, "A.A. kills one patient for each one that it appears to save."

Killing as many patients as it appears to help means that A.A. does not work. Look at penicillin, for example. It is deadly poisonous to some patients, and kills them. But doctors are careful about whom they give penicillin to, and I think it's fair to say that penicillin saves at least 1000 or 10,000 patients for every one that it kills. Now that is a medicine that works. Something that kills as many patients as it appears to help is useless, or even worse than useless. It's really a very poisonous medicine.

Now your question about "how could A.A. really kill people?" Simple:

  1. Have crazy sponsors who tell the newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications. The newcomers then die from heart attacks, strokes, psychotic breaks and suicides, and on and on.

  2. Also drive newcomers into bad depression by the constant harping on lists of sins and moral shortcomings, and constant confession sessions, which also drives people to suicide.

  3. Then there is the teaching that alcoholics are powerless over alcohol. That leads to worse binge drinking, and deaths.

  4. Then there is the induced hopelessness, which leads people to believe that they cannot ever recover. That leads to more suicides and uncontrolled drinking.

    Bill Wilson even taught A.A. recruiters to make people feel hopeless in order to mess with their minds:

    Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism. This is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more likely to follow your suggestions.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 94.

    That is vicious.

  5. And then there is the general obnoxiousness of Alcoholics Anonymous driving people away from any kind of treatment or help. Lots of people decide that they would rather drink themselves to death than turn into an A.A. religious nutcase.

About alcoholism as a disease: definition of disease that can be applied here: 1. a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment. Now, based on that definition, and the recognitions and descriptions of "Alcohol Disorders" defined by the DSM IV-TR, "Alcohol Disorders" (more specifically, the subcategories), by definition, are diseases. Alcohol dependence is a classification of "Alcohol Disorders", according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-Text Revision (DSM IV-TR), specifically Alcohol Dependence — Diagnostic Code 303.90. An interesting note? Alcohol Abuse is Diagnostic Code 305.00, falling also under "Alcohol Disorders". DC 303.90 is the more severe of the two, yet both are loosely thrown around and defined as "alcoholism". I am also looking forward to the DSM V to skew recovery numbers for ANY method even more. See:

Excuse me, but no. The American Psychiatric Association very deliberately did not "loosely throw around" the term "alcoholism", and they refused to even put that word in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It isn't in there, not anywhere. I've looked very carefully, and it is not in there.

"Alcohol Abuse" means "alcohol abuse", not "alcoholism", and "Alcohol Dependence" means addiction to alcohol, not "alcoholism".

"Alcoholism" is not a "disease". Period. It is behavior. Drinking is behavior. So is eating too much fatty or sugary food and getting fat. So is smoking cigarettes. So is snorting cocaine. And shooting heroin. And on and on. Just because someone is engaging in very bad unhealthy behavior does not mean that he has a disease. (And it also does not mean that he is powerless.)

Your very loose first dictionary definition of "disease" is worthless. By that definition, children eating too much ice cream and candy produces the nasty "spiritual disease" called "candyism" when they get a belly-ache.

And that is another issue I'd like to address. There are so many possible factors that affect efficacy of any treatment program. I have no idea how ANY recovery program (including A.A.) can keep a straight face when they talk about successful recovery rates. Most information about recovery rates is pretty much a boyscouts honor (other than the medically verified, and even that is limited).

The whole point of a randomized longitudinal controlled study is to have two large groups of identical or evenly matched patients, and only one group gets the real treatment. The other group gets nothing, or maybe a placebo. That cancels out all of those other confusing factors, like motivation, or mindset, or additional illnesses. Both groups will be equally motivated, and equally sick. The only difference between the two groups is the treatment being tested.

So, you give the medicine or treatment to one group, and not the other, and then wait a while and see what the results are. You compare the results from the two groups to see what effect the medicine or treatment produced.

That is how modern doctors test medicines and treatments. And such valid testing has revolutionized medicine by separating the good from the garbage.

Well, the testing of A.A. has put it in the garbage category.

By the way, when you are doing such a test, you don't just trust the patients when they say that they haven't been drinking or drugging. You observe, and you test. In other tests, they found:

Self-reporting. The studies that claim that A.A. works great based their conclusions on a bunch of alcoholics just declaring that they have not been drinking lately. But when such alcoholics were tested by urinalysis, 20% of them were lying. That is to be expected. Nobody wants to go to A.A. meetings and confess that he is drinking again, and that the 12 Steps aren't working for him, and he isn't "spiritual".

In addition, if a "hopeless alcoholic" cuts down on his drinking and cleans up his act and appears so sober that he is able to fool the doctors, how bad can his drinking really be? Isn't it just possible that an "alcoholic" who improves his lifestyle and his health to the point that he can routinely pass for sober might really be "recovered"?

Allegedly, a member of A.A. must send word to the General Service Office in her/his area in notification of a yearly mark of sobriety. In the groups I have been around, this RARELY happens. In fact, nobody really even knows that is what is supposed to happen. IDEALLY, you could get more reliable numbers from that, but that just isn't going to happen.

Now that is interesting, but I never heard of that happening either. I've never seen or even heard of a document from the GSO reporting the totals of such sent-in sobriety claims.

From your website:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, performed the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. For it, they interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

The above used the DSM-IV. As mentioned just previously, the DSM-IV-TR now has Alcohol Disorders, with two different Diagnostic Codes. Understandably, the above statistic probably combines both diagnostic codes 303.90 and 305.00, or whatver the DC was in DSM-IV. I would be interested to see what the statistics were for ONLY DC 303.90 from the DSM-IV-TR. Unfortunately, we'll probably never see anything like that.


If it "saves" even one life, as you put it, that is fantastic news to me. Alcoholics need any help they can get. If something else works for an alcoholic, I am extremely happy as well. We can't forget who the enemy is here.

Again, killing as many people as it appears to save is a disaster, not a wonderfully good thing.

I know who and what the enemy is. Did you read about Lizard Brain Addiction Monster?

When you truly understand what that dark hole feels like, seeing anybody come from that bad place, no matter the method, is a true miracle.

Been there, done that. I do truly understand. Now you are trying to use the propaganda trick of claiming that your opponent does not know what he is talking about, because he hasn't had the "special experiences" that you have. Wrong. I've been to hell and back with alcohol too, and I do know.

Again, just my $0.02. I'd prefer if you kept this correspondance between us, but ultimately it is up to you what you decide to do with it. If any of the above came off as representation of any organization, cause, or person other than myself, it was by mistake. This is just my opinion and nothing more. Take care of yourself.

— Anonymous

Thanks for the questions.

And have a good day now. And you take care of yourself too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**    but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**      ==  Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of
**    Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**    Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**    and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**    1983, pages 283-286.

[The next letter from Anonymous is here.]

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Last updated 19 December 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters308.html