Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXXVIII

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#LDP ]

Date: Wed, October 3, 2012 4:39 pm     (answered 08 October 2012)
From: "LD P."
Subject: aabibliograhy and censor ship

hey orange

I still in AA 17 years sober but still reading your site and posts and all the letters people write you.

myself and my site www.aabibliography.com are still banned by moderator glen c from the yahoo aa history lovers group.

banned for over one year now

I made a lot of contributions to that group and the history of alcoholics anonymous with my site

I have still never received an apology phone call or email from glenn c about him banning myself and others who disagree with some of his philosophies. read the page. there is nothing to BANNED ABOUT.

I wish you would do some more publishing about my problem on your site

and help me reach a larger issue about this glenn c and censorship issue..

I really thought one of the big newspapers or blogs would have made it a much bigger thing than it is....

all glenn has to do is apoligise and put me back on the list??

amends is that what AA is about

not to Glenn C moderator of AA history lovers

banned for over one year now

LDP editor sober 17 years
dallas tx
800 xxx xxxx
remove my phone if you publish

Hello LD,

Thanks for your web site. I've learned some good things from it. And congratulations on your many years of sobriety. Good choice.

Alas, the Yahoo group "A.A. History Lovers" is notorious for banning people who tell the truth about the real history of A.A. I know of other people who have also been censored or banned for revealing some historical truths that the true believers didn't want to hear. The A.A. History Group is just a bunch of people who believe in fairy tales and all that they want to hear is more repetitions of their favorite fairy tales. They censor and quickly ban anyone who tells undesired truths. Check out:

I wouldn't waste my time on the Yahoo group AAHL. (And in fact, I don't.) They just don't want to hear the truth, and won't tolerate anyone telling the truth.

You can post to the Orange Papers forum and I won't censor you.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot
**     change their minds cannot change anything.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson

May 31, 2012, Thursday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Two families coming ashore. That's the oldest Family of 6, and the Family of 3. They have been hanging out together all of this time.

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, coming ashore

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, coming to get some munchies. The children are rushing ahead of their parents because they know me, and know that I feed them good things, and they are hungry. They are growing children, and they are always hungry.

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, with four goslings visible, eating rolled oats and bread.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#iamnotastatistic ]

Date: Fri, October 5, 2012 7:05 am     (answered 9 October 2012)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: Money and Profits in AA

Hello again Terrance,

Some thoughts and calculations regarding money and profits in AA...

Supporters of AA, both members and non members, often defend AA by saying something along the lines of:

AA isn't about money or profit, there are no membership fees in AA, you don't have to put anything in the basket if you don't want to, GSO only gets donations from half of AA groups (44% of groups donated to GSO in 2009 and 2010), GSO doesn't receive enough in donations each year to pay the bills, etc.

However, a closer examination of the numbers reveals some surprising facts. In the last few years GSO has received ~$5.4M per year in donations from groups increasing to ~$6.4M per year when donations from individuals, groups, and other AA entities are totaled. The $5.4M represents the portion of total basket donations that is left over when all the group expenses, District/Intergroup donations, Area donations, etc., are paid out. But just how much money goes into the AA baskets each year?

The latest figures from GSO (2011) show that in the USA and Canada there were 1,384,699 members attending an average of 2.6 meetings per week and one would assume (since alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful and doesn't take vacations) attending 52 weeks a year. This means that over the course of a year the number of butts on seats at AA meetings would be:

1,384,699 AA members x 2.6 meetings/week x 52 weeks/year = 187,211,305 butts on seats at AA meetings in the USA & Canada in 2011.

This means that there are 187,211,305 opportunities for $1 to go into an AA basket each year. Thus, the potential annual income of all 63,845 (2011) AA groups in the USA and Canada is $187,211,305. That is an astoundingly large sum of money! Of course not every attendee will donate a dollar to the basket at every meeting. However, even a basket donation rate of ~54% puts the total AA basket income at $100,000,000 per year, still an incredibly large sum.

So, YES, AA is all about the money — to the tune of $100M+ per year!

It is interesting to note that since most AA groups split their donations equally (or close to equally) between District/Intergroup, Area and GSO then this implies that since $5.4M is donated to GSO each year then $5.4M is also donated from the groups to the District/Intergroup level and another $5.4M is donated from the groups to the Area level. Thus the total group donations to all AA entities would be ~$16.2M per year! AA generates an annual gross profit of $16.2M at the group level (16.2% based on $100M/yr basket income). What is even more astonishing is that AA achieves this with donations from only 44% of groups.

So, after all group expenses are paid there is a $16.2M gross profit every year at the group level which is distributed as follows:

  • $5.4M goes to the District/Intergroup level. Here the District Committees such as Correctional Facilities, Treatment Facilities, Public Information, Cooperation with the professional community, Literature, etc., provide street, city and county level local marketing and advertizing. The Intergroup serves as the revenue channel for A.A. Conference approved literature published by AAWS, Inc. Intergroup literature sales contributed a large part of the $12.8M in gross sales of AA literature in 2010!

  • $5.4M goes to the Area level. Here, the Area Committees identical to those at the district level provide marketing and advertizing at the county, state and regional level.

  • Finally, $5.4M goes directly from the groups to GSO. However, in comparsion to the volume of work in advertizing, promotion and literature sales that is carried out at District, Intergroup and Area level, GSO does practically nothing at the national level.

Note that GSO does not contribute any money to Group, District, Intergroup or Area levels even though they are integral parts of the revenue stream. The revenue always flows up to GSO, never down. In fact, in 2010, in addition to the $5.4M in group donations to GSO; District, Intergroup, Conference and Area level donations to GSO totaled $467,317. Even these local and regional marketing and advertizing divisions of AA generate profits for GSO.

Undoubtedly GSO doesn't massively profit from the over $100M per year in basket income. Still, $5.4M of non taxable revenue from a gross income of more than $100M per year is a pretty decent return for GSO considering that each year it also has $12.8M gross sales from AA literature, $1M in other non taxable donations and most importantly GSO doesn't have to fund the Groups, Districts, Intergroups or Areas which generate its income. It's no wonder that AA can pay its General Manager $250,000 and a Senior Advisor to the GM $469,000.

AA is an incredibly elegant multi level marketing faith healing scam — and Bill Wilson designed it that way:

"And as that dream burst upon me, it sounded good, because you see, I'd been down in Wall Street in the promotion business and I remember the great sums of money that were made as soon as people got this chain idea. You know, chain drug stores, chain grocery stores, chain dry good stores."
— Bill Wilson, Fort Worth, Texas, 1954.

No shit, Bill! In just the last 20 years in the USA and Canada the potential basket income of AA groups was over three billion dollars ($3,000,000,000).


Hello Iamnotastatistic,

Thanks for the mathematical analysis of A.A. finances. Now that is very interesting.

Like you mentioned, it occurs to me that money that stays at the lower levels of the pyramid, like at the district or area intergroups, does not get reported to the IRS on the Form 990s that are submitted by the New York headquarters.

Likewise, organizations like Clancy's cult and Mike Quinones' Q-Group, and all of the other A.A. sub-cults, don't submit or publish such information either.

It would appear that there is lots of hidden money.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Anonymous ]

Date: Sat, October 6, 2012 8:04 am     (answered 9 October 2012)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Escaping AA

Hello Orange,

My thoughts are a bit scattered at the moment so I apologize if this e-mail is difficult to understand, but I just have to express my feeling and I believe you might understand. I am a 27 year old heroin addict with almost a year clean, save for a few minor slips, and I feel as if AA is ripping me apart. My home group is incredibly liberal and open-minded. There is no dogmatic preaching, no tirades against other methods of recovery, no alienation of drug addicts.

People share openly about using therapy, meditation, maintenance drugs and whatever other methods work for them. Most members are successful professionals including a quite famous cultural critic, professors, teachers, businessmen, etc, you get the picture. I think the permissive attitudes of this particular group and the sort of open therapeutic dialogue it engenders have caused me to stay here much longer than other groups I have joined. I have made friends with some incredibly intelligent, radical free thinkers whom have made parts of the program work for them.

Over my years of attempting to achieve sobriety I have occasionally perused your site, usually at a time when my faith in myself and AA is at a low point, and I suppose that this is another one of those times.

I don't know what to do.

I feel so alienated, so lost, my cravings are so strong, and at some level I know that the actual program of AA does not work, I understand how it draws people in, manipulates them, utilizes all manner of cult recruiting techniques.

However, and this is a fairly significant however,

This group has helped me. This group has given me intelligent and loving friends who support me. This group has been there for me on my off days, has helped me find support for my other issues (trauma and a severe eating disorder resembling anorexia).

I suppose I want to keep the baby and the bathwater, to remain connected to this support group and social circle while giving mere lip service to the actual foundations of the program. This seems possible. No one at this particular group would judge me for this. I have found the best of both worlds it seems, a social and support structure based around abstinence from drugs and alcohol yet free of traditional AA dogma and extremism.

I feel trapped.

This is due in part to my own life, my own mind, the ways that it plagues and deceives and causes me to spiral into depression. I can be unstable, I can be social and active in life one day and then turn off my phone, lock myself in my apartment, and isolate the next.

I love your website and the incredible depth of your critiques of AA, yet I feel that I can retain myself and my mind and my own personal values while also remaining active in this particular group and with this particular circle of people within it.

I suppose that this e-mail doesn't involve a single particular question or issue and is more just me trying to express where I am now to someone who I feel could understand and whose reply and opinion would be meaningful to me.

Feel free to publish this in your letters section but please remove my name if you choose to do so.


Hello Anonymous,

Thank you for the letter. You sound quite sane and perceptive, and have stated your problem clearly.

I don't think that your problem is impossible to solve, or that you are trapped. And I think that you can "have your cake and eat it too".

  1. First off, don't burn your bridges behind you. You get moral support from your support group, so continue to use it as long as it benefits you more than hurts you. There is nothing wrong with using the group, that is what it is there for. Or is supposed to be for. You don't have to believe in Steppism. Just believe that you want to feel better and be healthier and happier. If some of the people in the group give you comfort and feelings of well-being, then associate with them.

    Definitely check out the list of other recovery groups, here: http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-alt_list.html. You might find another group of people who can also give you the moral support and companionship that you need.

  2. Secondly, do you have a doctor who is helping you? I mean really helping. When you speak of your cravings and depression and eating disorder and emotional cycling, that tells me that you have untreated conditions that should be treated by a good doctor or counselor, or both. If you don't have such a doctor, please try to get one. Really. There are lots of bad doctors, and mediocre doctors, and good doctors, so please get a good one. If you already have a bad one, get a good one.

  3. Dump the guilt and self-condemnation. And if you are practicing Steps Four through Seven, stop doing that. You have already accurately assessed your situation, so you don't need to continue to beat up on yourself. Here is where I part company with Steppers and say that the Steps do more harm than good. It isn't your fault that you were born with some difficult medical conditions. It isn't your fault that you were traumatized. It was pretty natural for you to try using drugs to kill your pain. But now you have learned that heroin also causes more pain than joy, so you are off of that. And of course you still crave the feel-good part of it. Of course you still want to get a vacation from your pain and feel good. Don't feel guilty about that either. That is just natural. Go read The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster for lots more about that.

  4. Likewise, dump the self-condemnation and self-criticism in sharing. Just concentrate on how you feel better now that you aren't killing yourself with heroin. Don't get into yammering about how bad you are (or "selfish", or "manipulative", or "dishonest", etc.), not even if you are getting pressure from some people in the group to do so, and "get really honest". Read The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy for more about that. (By the way, those people who want to hear you wallowing in guilt and confessions are not your friends. They are your mortal enemies. They will kill you while they enjoy watching you suffer.)

  5. Also, stop calling yourself a heroin addict. That is the influence of Steppism again, where every time you speak you have to say that you are an alcoholic or an addict. You are not addicted to heroin any more, so you are no longer a heroin addict. You may be an ex-addict, or you may be a person who is suffering from some mental conditions that are causing you pain, but you are no longer a heroin addict.

  6. Learn how to stop driving yourself crazy. That is the title of a pamphlet by Dr. Hank Robb, who manages SMART in Oregon. I wish I had a copy of it handy. I'll publish it if I find it. SMART teaches a bunch of techniques for managing your own mind and avoiding making things worse. It's easy to work yourself into a tizzy by concentrating on how bad things are — "awfulizing" — complaining about how things are so awful. Notice that you can make your mental pain worse, or minimize it, just by how you think about it. If you think that it is really bad, really awful, and you can't stand it, then the pain really is really awful and you can't stand it. On the other hand, if you think that it's bearable, and you can get through it, and it isn't so bad, then it isn't so bad. So again, check out some SMART meetings. If there are none in your city, you can get online and talk to people in their forum or chat group. They are listed in the link above. Also, their web site has a bunch of small documents in PDF format, and some of them may be very good reading for you.

  7. Along the same lines, recognize that you are not trapped. You can go to A.A./N.A. meetings, or you can not go, as you choose. There is no sense in getting to feeling all frantic and desperate and trapped when you aren't in a trap. There is no sense in working yourself up into a panic attack or anxiety attack.

  8. So have a good day. Really. Concentrate on the good things. Count your blessings. Do some fun things. Treat yourself to something good. Things will get better. You have already kicked heroin, which is a huge victory. You have proven that you are strong and powerful and a winner. You are winning. Congratulations. Now you can accomplish other things too.

And if there is anything else that I can do to help, don't hesitate to write back.

Again, have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The secret of health for both mind and body is
**    not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future,
**    but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
**      ==  Buddha

Date: Tue, October 9, 2012 4:52 pm     (answered 12 October 2012)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Re: Escaping AA

Thank you so much for your reply, that is exactly what I needed to hear. There is no need for myself to get all panicked and terrified about the prospect of leaving AA. It doesn't need to be cinematic, exiting the meeting into a blustery evening, turning back one time at the cluster of smokers outside, then steeling myself against the cold and walking onwards.

I can simply ease myself into a new mindset regarding my home group while proactively seeking out additional therapy, in fact I have an appointment tomorrow morning with a psychiatrist specialising in duel diagnosis.

I may print out your rely and attach it to my fridge as a way of reminding myself that I don't need to follow the maddeningly narrow and dead-end road of steppism in order to recover.

Thank you again,

Hello again, Anonymous,

Thanks for the reply. That sounds good. I hope your new therapist does right by you.

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 = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Dan ]

Date: Mon, October 8, 2012 11:13 am     (answered 9 October 2012)
From: "Dan"
Subject: Question

I stumbled upon your page while doing some AA quote look-ups online. Just a quick question as I do not feel like reading further what I saw at a glance.

Are you basically an anti-AA site/crusader? Or are you only trying to point out the flaws in a program that has worked for many individuals? The reasons why:

  • 1) Many people pick up multiple chips due to attending multiple meetings, while others will pick only one and then not collect one at another, even though they picked a white chip up at all of them.
  • 2) I personally have turned in my chips over time, mainly to save the group from having to buy more (I only picked up one white chip). So if I picked up say 5 red chips at various meetings, I turned them all in at my home group. Therefore, my home group did not have to buy more of those chips. I have done this will all my chips as I don't really care about chips myself.
  • 3) Sometimes service type meetings (H&I, etc.) have funds that they do not need for any purpose. In the past these groups have purchased things like chips and schedules and let the members of those groups take them back to their home groups for use. This saves money for the home groups who send members to perform these service tasks.
  • 4) Like you also point out, milestone chips are often bought separately by sponsors, friends, etc. Therefore most of these I see do not come from a groups store of chips, but instead are bought from a variety of places/AA Areas.

All that being said, I do not claim to be perfect, I do not claim AA to be perfect. What are you claiming?


A sober man named Dan.

Hello Dan,

Thank you for the letter.

  1. About the count of coins. We have discussed the problems with coins many times. I know that many people pick up multiple one-day coins. They pick up a coin, and then relapse, and then pick up another coin, and then relapse, and on and on. (Which just goes to show that the 12-Step program isn't working.) And on the other end, the people who are picking up the 10- or 15- or 20-year coins are so proud of themselves that they drive all over town, from one meeting to another, to pick up another coin, and another, and another, to hear the crowd cheering for them and congratulating them again and again.

    Even if the numbers are way off, by a factor of five or six, that will not change the fact that A.A. is a failure. If six people out of a thousand, rather than just one, make it sober for 20 years in A.A., that still makes the A.A. program a total failure. Only six victories out of a thousand? That is a disaster. We get a better success rate by giving alcoholics no help at all.

  2. Very, very, very few people turn their chips in for recycling, so that doesn't change the numbers much. Again, shifting the numbers a small amount will not change the fact that the A.A. program is a massive failure, and it just does not work.

  3. How chips are purchased in quantity and distributed to groups does not change the ratios of what chips are handed out. For example, it does not change the ratio of one-month coins to 10-year coins given out. The area intergroups purchase the coins they need, and do not purchase the coins that they do not need more of.

  4. Again, the independent purchase of a few special "milestone" chips — gold-plated, or extra-fancy special decorations, or whatever — does not change the overall ratios of coins purchased by any appreciable amount. And it does not change the overall trendline, which is fewer and fewer chips given out over a 30- or 40-year span.

You have only discussed the coins handed out. There is also plenty of other evidence that A.A. is a failure:

Lastly, you asked what am I claiming? I am claiming that A.A. does more harm than good, and they lie about that a lot.

  1. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A increased binge drinking.
  2. Dr. Ditman found that A.A increased the rate of rearrests.
  3. Dr. Walsh found that A.A increased the cost of hospitalization.
  4. Dr. Vaillant, who went on to become an A.A. trustee, found that A.A. raised the death rate in alcoholics.
  5. A.A. harms people by telling people not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.
  6. A.A. harms people by telling people that they are powerless over alcohol, and are defenseless against that first drink.
  7. A.A. harms people by telling people that one drink means that they have lost all of their sobriety and all of their sober time (so they might as well go ahead and drink and really tie one on and make it worth it now).
  8. A.A. harms people by telling people that they are unable to control their drinking, and that after they have had one, they won't be able to stop (which sometimes become a self-fullfilling prophesy).
  9. A.A. harms people by telling people that they will drink themselves to death if they leave A.A. (which again sometimes become a self-fullfilling prophesy).
  10. A.A. harms people by telling people that they are disgusting incurable sinners who can't ever recover.
  11. A.A. harms people by giving people gross misinformation about alcohol addiction and recovery.
  12. A.A. harms people by claiming to have a good recovery program when it does not.
  13. A.A. harms people by driving people into suicidal depression with endless confessions.
  14. Sexually abusing young women drives them away from recovery.
  15. The obnoxiousness of A.A. drives both men and women away from recovery, and increases their cynicism too.
  16. Also see the file What's Not Good About A.A.? for more.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
**  You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful
**  to take the bait."
**  Bill Wilson describing early recruiting efforts for Alcoholics Anonymous,
**  at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

May 31, 2012, Thursday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Two Goslings

Canada Goose goslings
One of those noisy frogs with the huge bass croak.

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 7. That's the largest family this year, so far.

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and children, eating some rolled oats.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Moritz_G ]

Date: Fri, October 5, 2012 11:28 am     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: "Moritz G."
Subject: Fwd: correction and more

Dear Orange,

regarding: http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters305.html#Moritz_G

That link I send you was no good, as it was relative to the current day.

http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2012/05/09 is the permalink.

The other addition is regarding false transfer/translation of rules for the example of the Laffer-Curve:

> The hidden assumption is that one is currently on one side of the
> curve one is not in fact on. I forgot at least one false assumption
> in the Laffer-Curve. The assumption is, that increasing the tax rate
> decreases GDP.

This is a great technique: You explain something that is true for one case / setting / condition / circumstance, but then apply the rule to something similar but less well understood, so people don't notice that the rule/theory does not apply.

For the case of the Laffer-Curve it is the transfer from the domain of avoidables/optionals to the entire economy and compulsory/mandatory. That transfer from something that applies to the individual to the whole is a classic fallacy. It is a false conclusion/generalization based on false hidden assumption.

Moritz G.

Hi again, Moritz,

Thanks for the correction and clarification.

That false conclusion/generalization sounds like a couple of standard propaganda tricks:

  1. Proof by Anecdote
  2. Generalize, and the Sweeping Generality

— Just find one anecdotal story where the conclusion seems to be true, and then generalize to a much wider category or class and infer that the conclusion is true for all cases.

I had to look up the Laffer Curve on Wikipedia to remember what it is. They have a good web page on it:

I quite agree with your point about assuming which side of the Laffer Curve we are on. It is so easy, and convenient for rich campaign donors, to assume that we are on the high side of the curve. But the results of reducing taxes on the rich do not support that assumption.

What I wonder about the Laffer Curve is, "What has the real result of reducing taxes on the rich been?" All of those years of the Reagan and Bush tax cuts have produced a dead economy and a stack of deficits heading for the moon. For the first time in history, the credit rating of the USA has been downgraded. I wonder where all of the wonderful prosperity that we were supposed to get went.

Funny how the proponents of even more tax cuts for the rich ignore those facts, and continue to claim that things will be great if the rich pay even less. It looks to me like some greedy pigs just don't want to pay taxes.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have
**     failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have
**     admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous
**     money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by
**     the hearts and minds of men.  True they have tried, but their efforts have
**     been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of
**     credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the
**     lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false
**     leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for
**     restored confidence..."
**       ==  President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural speech (1932)
**     Reagan professed to believe in the fundamentalist Christian
**     doctrine that the end of the world was at hand.  At the very
**     least, this should have called into question his concern for
**     the nation's long-term welfare.  Unburdened by such mundane
**     cares, he cast aside all restraint in the pursuit of economic
**     "growth," and financed the next phase of suburban
**     expansion by encouraging the greatest accumulation of debt
**     in world history.  Why worry about borrowing from the future
**     when you don't believe in the future?
**       ==  James H. Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere, p 110.

[The next letter from Moritz_G is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#TG ]

Date: Mon, October 8, 2012 5:29 pm     (answered 11 October 2012)
From: "tg"
Subject: I'd like to chat...

Been in clean and sober AA for over 33 but years and I've never been happy about all of what I've witnessed there, but could not find anything else that provided anything better. I've worked in rehabs and they were worse even than A.A..

AA has gotten worse in recent years and I am now actually concerned for my own safety in the rooms. I do have other resources and support, and if I totally left AA and the 12 step community, I would have something to fall back on.

Let's chat..

Business & Personal Performance Coach
Personal Development
Reiki Master
EFT Practitioner
Energy Healer
Kingston, NY
H. (845)xxx-xxxx
C. (845)xxx-xxxx

Hello TG,

Thanks for the observations, and I hope you don't have to fear for your welfare in 12-Step meetings. (But I have to agree that you might need to, especially if you insist on telling the truth.)

Sure, let's talk. Alas, I don't have a phone, so it will have to be via email.

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.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Michelle_C ]

Date: Mon, October 8, 2012 5:35 pm     (answered 11 October 2012)
From: "Michelle C."
Subject: My experience in A.A.

I left A.A. It took me two times to finally do it but luckily, the second time only took a week.

I went to A.A. because I had no idea where else to go. At my first meeting, I had my daughters with me. They were in a separate room playing games while I sat in a meeting. After the meeting, they told my daughters, "We'll get your mommy better so she can be a mother to you". My oldest daughter looked up and said "She's already a great mom. She thinks she needs help, so we're supporting her."

Throughout my time there, I was told I was not smart, incapable of thinking, hopeless, a degenerate and a liar. The liar reference was due to the fact that I stated I did not drink daily, never in the mornings, had no withdrawal and still managed to have a good life. They would "speak" with me to get me to tell stories of drinking to pull things out to make me realize how horrible I was. The part I hated most was being told I had to hit rock bottom, lose everything, go to rehab and stop thinking so much of myself.

I fought it because I did drink a lot over the period of a year. But I still had my house, a job, a nice car, great kids and friends. I am also college educated, which I was told was ridiculous.

A man and I became close friends while in A.A. I was told I was sick and bringing him down by "demanding" a relationship. This never happened. In fact, at one point, we were told by our Spiritual leader and an Old-Timer that I should just "fuck" not love. That I was unworthy of love.

A year later, I saw that man again. We both were about the same in our time of sobriety. He was so open and honest when we became friends; now he is an AA droid. He is cold, judgmental, arrogant. It's truly sad.

I discovered I was "rated" by the men of A.A. frequently and they wondered who would "get to me first".

I walked away after members of this group went to friends of mine outside of A.A. and spread lies, ruined my reputation and cost me dear friendships.

Why did I go back? I was curious if another group was the same. At this point, I truly believed I needed A.A.

I was wrong. I sat in a meeting and afterwards, stepped outside to smoke. Once I went back in to use the restroom, I saw two men with a new woman in a corner. They were making plans to meet after at her house while her husband was away. This seemed to be common and I was told it was better if I forgot what I saw, get myself right with God and call my Sponsor.

I spent 8 months being lied to, put down, hurt and cussed. I was talked about, used.

And it's amazing, I am now sober and happy, having an amazing life due to one thing: Myself. AVRT and SMART Recovery are my tools.

The only thing A.A. taught me is that I am a strong, capable, intelligent woman who was smart enough to leave. In A.A., I saw a lot of unhappy people, I heard a lot of cliches. But after doing so much research, it scares me at how pervasive the beliefs are that were established by A.A., how people just accept such dangerous ideas without even checking into them.

A.A. is dangerous. A.A. hurts people. Keep up what you are doing. I'm starting to work on doing my part also.

Hello Michelle,

Wow. Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about all of the horrible experiences that you went through, and I'm glad that you are out of it now.

I think you really hit the nail on the head. I can't really add anything. (Other than to say that I'm adding your letter to my list of A.A. horror stories.)

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== 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

May 31, 2012, Thursday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The new Family of 3

Canada Goose goslings
The new Family of 3

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 6

Canada Goose goslings
Two Goslings

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Allan ]

Date: Wed, October 10, 2012 4:00 am     (answered 12 October 2012)
From: "Allan"
Subject: Regarding Money and Profits in AA

Good Morning Orange,

I'm a sober, recovering or recovered or whatever alcoholic and drug addict going on 31 years of sobriety. I began in AA/NA, greatly reduced my attendance at meetings after about 12-13 years and for personal reasons have increased my attendance in the past 1-2 years. I have been reading your site for a few months and agree with you on some points and disagree on others. But that's for another time. And congratulations on your continuing sobriety.

I'm writing this morning in response to the most recent letter about Money and Profits in AA. This is my experience as the current treasurer of meeting I attend. We meet once a week and average attendance is 20-30. Attendance has been slightly higher the past couple of months probably due to summer being over and people back from vacations. We average about $1 per attendee — some nights more, some less. (I usually throw in $2, some people don't throw in anything.) Our rent to the church is $300 every three months and I usually reimburse the guy who makes the coffee $8-$12 per meeting. We're usually broke by the time rent and expensed are covered and have nothing left for a prudent reserve as suggested. That's how it is at our little group.

The other group I attend meets twice a week. I will usually go to the larger of the two meetings that averages maybe 50 people a night. The other meeting s smaller, maybe 20 a night. I'll assume the average contribution is the same as the meeting where I'm treasurer and they collect $70 per week. I don't know the rent and coffee expenses. I know they do make regular donations to NY Intergroup, GSO and the local area GSO and the local Institutions Committee in a 60/20/10/10 ratio.

As for what gets reported by whom, I logged into Guidestar and searched on "Intergroup" which retuned 965 results. I haven't checked them all but many are local AA Intergroups, including NYC where I reside. Any available 990 info would be there. Between work, family, friends, personal time and the 2-3 hours a week at meetings, I don't jave time to crunch all the numbers but it makes for an interesting project. Someday!

Anyway, that's my anecdotal and unscientific contribution to the conversation. Have a great day.

And please hide my email address if you post this on your site. It's fine to use my first name. Thanks.

Hello Allan,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I know that Iamnotastatistic was estimating his numbers on the high side. He even said so, using qualifiers like "potential", as in "the potential annual income of all 63,845 (2011) AA groups in the USA and Canada...". I am sure that the real numbers are far less that the maximum possible numbers.

Also, Iamnotastatistic stated that only 44% of the A.A. groups actually donate money to the A.A. headquarters. Obviously, your groups fall into the 56% who don't send money to the New York headquarters.

Still, the amounts of money that we are talking about — the real income and assets of Alcoholics Anonymous Incorporated — make A.A. far richer than a just a small impoverished non-profit organization.

Anybody who can afford to give his lawyer friend (Thomas Jasper) nearly half a million dollars as a going-away present is hardly impoverished.

And to think that A.A. commmitted perjury in the courtrooms of Mexico and Germany to get that money — testifying against innocent A.A. members who were carrying the message — makes A.A. finances really disgusting.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
**       ==  Henry Fielding (1707—1754)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Wed, October 10, 2012 8:24 am     (answered 12 October 2011)
From: "Peter Ferentzy"
Subject: Dealing With Addiction: What Does Stigma Entail?


Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

Hi again, Peter,

Interesting article. Very interesting. And stigma is a big thing in Alcoholics Anonymous, too. A.A. members constantly parrot the line about "We want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism", while they actually rant non-stop about how bad alcoholics really are — "alcoholics are selfish and manipulative and constitutionally dishonest and in denial and unspiritual and guilty of the Seven Deadly Sins"... That is very hurtful, and undoubtedly contributes to the bad A.A. relapse rate and suicide rate.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, October 14, 2012 6:10 pm
From: "Peter F."
Subject: RE: Dealing With Addiction: What Does Stigma Entail?

Thanks for your thoughts Orange. What you say is right:

And stigma is a big thing in Alcoholics Anonymous, too. A.A. members constantly parrot the line about "We want to reduce the stigma of alcoholism", while they actually rant non-stop about how bad alcoholics really are — "alcoholics are selfish and manipulative and constitutionally dishonest and in denial and unspiritual and guilty of the Seven Deadly Sins"... That is very hurtful, and undoubtedly contributes to the bad A.A. relapse rate and suicide rate.

I've said this at many public talks: if we addicts are to make serious changes for ourselves, we must stop participating in our own degradation.
Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#John_T ]

Date: Thu, October 11, 2012 10:44 am     (answered 12 October 2012)
From: "John T."
Subject: Thanks for telling the truth...

Hi Orange,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all the hard work you've done in getting the truth out to the world. As I type this, I am just a few months short of 11 years sober. In my case, RR was my ticket to freedom.

It's amazing how many people have been conned into thinking that AA not only actually works but it is the only thing that does. While I'm not one to get up on my soapbox, I will share my experience and "secret to sobriety" to those who ask me. It still annoys me that many of my friends and family believe that I have some sort of innate ironclad willpower — despite the fact that I've said repeatedly that I believe that drinking is a choice and I merely decided not to do it any longer.

Of course, I still encounter people who insist that since I was able to stop drinking without AA or any formal treatment that I must not have been a "true" alcoholic. What a crock! Anyway, keep up the good work. Perhaps someday the fraud that is AA will be recognized by the masses. On the other hand, given the number of people who believe in astrology, I somehow doubt it!

John T.

Hello John,

Thank you for the letter and the thanks. And congratulations on your many years of sobriety. Coincidentally, I also have 11 years of sobriety, and am just a few days away from my 12th anniversary, so we are in the same time bracket. And I also "just quit" one day. I just decided that I wasn't going to die that way.

The mention of "iron will" really rings a bell. I was just thinking about that an hour ago. When I tell people — particularly A.A. members — that I just quit drinking and also quit smoking at the same time after the doctor told me to quit drinking or die, A.A. members argue that I am super-human, and I can't expect mere mortals like them to be able to do that. Ordinary people need a cult to help them to quit, they argue. Ordinary people are "powerless". I think that is just a lame cop-out where they are being lazy and deliberately weak.

Heck, quitting wasn't easy for me either. It took me 33 years to quit smoking, and several tries over a period of 10 years to quit drinking and really stay with it for longer than three years. So it wasn't like I just put on my Superman suit and threw the kryptonite into the trash can.

And oh yeh, I also get the "not a true alcoholic" routine a lot. That's just the The Real Scotsman Fallacy. If you drink too much alcohol, you are a true alcoholic and you need A.A. But if you quit drinking without A.A., then you weren't a true alcoholic. If you were a real alcoholic, then you would need A.A.

I also used something like the ideas of Rational Recovery, particularly what Jack Trimpey called "The Beast". I call it "The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster", but it's the same thing. I learned about that from 33 years of trying to quit smoking, and quitting and then back-sliding again and again. It just seemed like I had this stupid little voice in my head that went nuts when I quit smoking, and he had a zillion excuses and rationalizations for "just having one".

And in the end, it was always my choice whether to listen to that voice or continue to abstain and be healthy.

Ah, good health. How sweet it is. I really wish I'd done it 20 or 30 years sooner.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nor deem the irrevocable Past
**        As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
**     If, rising on its wrecks, at last
**        To something nobler we attain.
**           ==  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Ladder of St. Augustine

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html#Daniel_U ]

Date: Thu, October 11, 2012 12:58 pm     (answered 12 October 2012)
From: "Daniel U."
Subject: Error on Page http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-propaganda.html

There is an error in the following qoute:

"I soon realized that the correct use of propaganda is a true art which has remained practically unknown to the bourgeois parties. Only the Christian-Social movement, especially in Lüger's time, achieved a certain virtuosity on this instrument, to which it owed many of its successes."

— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume 1, Chapter 6, "War Propaganda"

The man refered to is called Karl Lueger not Lüger. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Lueger

Daniel U.

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for the correction. I can guess what happened there. I was "un-Americanizing" the spelling of the name as I typed the quote. Americans often substitute "ue" for a u with an umlaut when their typewriter has no umlauted letters, so I assumed that Lueger had been changed from Lüger, so I changed it back. Oops!

Yes, I have to watch that. It goes both ways. Like Joseph Goebbels is not umlauted, but Hermann Göring is.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "When ideas fail, words come in very handy."
**         ==  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832)

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 9 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters328.html