Letters, We Get Mail, CCCLXXXV


The Al Qaeda terrorists killed 3000 people on 9/11.
But that was just one time, one year, 12 years ago.
Tobacco has killed 430,000 Americans, each and every year, from way before 9/11 up to the present.
And alcohol kills 113,000 Americans every year.
So which one do you think should get a larger military budget to defend the American people from our enemies?

Then consider that the flu kills more Americans than Al Qaeda.
So do heart attacks and morbid obesity and diabetes.
So does cancer. So do traffic accidents.
So what should our priorities really be?

Why send more people to A.A. when A.A. is such a failure?
The reason is, to grow A.A.
Alcoholics Anonymous is just another cult religion that wants to enlarge its membership and power and take over the whole field. A.A. literature routinely talks about A.A. being a wave sweeping the world.

A.A. is just like Scientology. Tom Cruise will jump up and down on the couch and tell you that Scientology knows more about the human mind than all of the psychiatrists in the world. And A.A. says:

Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.

December 29, 2013, Sunday, Fernhill Wetlands:

I got to the wetlands very late this day. It was already getting dark. But my little feathered friends were still hungry.

Domestic ducks coming
The ducks are coming running to get dinner. The sea gulls are hungry too.

Domesticated ducks eating

Dark Pondscape

Gus the Greylag Goose
Gus the Greylag Goose

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Michael_W ]

Date: Tue, January 7, 2014 12:52 pm     (answered 9 January 2014)
From: "Michael W."
Subject: Effectiveness of 12 Step Treatment

Hello Mr. Orange,

I quit drinking, worked the 12 steps and recovered. Now my life is much better.

Being recovered is just NOT drinking. I'm sure most AA's are more passive and laugh at your banter without response, I felt compelled to message you to express the multitude of spiritual awakenings I've had and been a part of that were facilitated by AA. Those spiritual experiences will never be quantified and I'm sure my recovery or the people I've assisted is not part of any statistics, nor do I care.

I believe you are correct with all the information you've provided. There's no argument from me. My perception and experience of AA are vastly different from what you've conveyed in the information. The peace and joy are undeniable. I DID THE WORK and AA provided me the platform on which to facilitate that recovery.

I hope you get all that you desire.

God bless you,


Hello Michael,

Thank you for the letter. And I'm glad to hear that your health has improved. Congratulations on getting a grip and quitting drinking.

You said, "I'm sure most AA's are more passive and laugh at your banter without response."
Brother, you haven't read many of the letters to the author, have you? When I tell the truth about A.A., many of the A.A. members send hate mail and scream obscenities at me. Such behavior is typical of cults.

You are right when you say that spiritual experiences are subjective and cannot be quantified. However, we can analyze and quantify what the 12 Steps do. They are brainwashing techniques that were developed by Dr. Frank Buchman for his cult religion. They are just standard cultish recruiting and indoctrination practices.

Incidentally, Dr. Buchman went to China as a missionary in 1918 and 1921, and taught his religious conversion methods to the Chinese. The local Communists learned the practices, and turned them into the infamous Red Chinese brainwashing technology. Look here for a description of that brainwashing program:
You will see that the A.A. 12 Steps do all eight of Dr. Lifton's "Eight Criteria of Thought Reform".

So there is no reason to believe that you got wonderful religious or spiritual experiences from having the Chinese Communist brainwashing program worked on your head.

In fact, "mystical manipulation" is one of the eight standard characteristics of a brainwashing program: "There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but, in fact, were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent..."

You can also check out these books by Dr. Lifton:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     MITCHELL: "Hey Tilk, how did you resist that brainwashing?"
**     TILK:  "To resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is most important."
**       ==  Stargate SG-1

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Joseph_L ]

Date: Wed, January 8, 2014 1:02 am     (answered 9 January 2014)
From: "Joseph L."
Subject: proof of personage

Been clean and sober for 45 years. I did it my way.
I go to AA as an Agent Provocateur.
Have no concept of a god and believe that those that do are convinced, confused and conceited enough to believe that the universe actually notices their existence.
Like your site.

Joseph L.

Hello Joseph,

Thank you for the message. I'm glad to hear that your brain is still alive and free.

Now what user name did you register? Tell me that and I'll approve you.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For me to sit with a new guy and tell him he needs God and he needs
**     to work the steps in order to save his life is tantamount to murder
**     or at least some form of assisted suicide.
**       ==  posted by Rant at 9:37 am, Monday, November 5, 2012, on
**         http://moynihaninstitute.blogspot.com/2012/11/aa-kills-more-drunks-than-it-helps.html

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Anonymous ]

Date: Wed, January 8, 2014 9:06 am     (answered 9 January 2014)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Coerced NA Membership

January 7, 2014

Dear Mr. Orange,

I am a medical professional who is taking part in a monitoring program for medical professionals with drug and alcohol problems. I am a drug addict, though I've not used anything in nine months. My abstinence has nothing to do with NA or treatment, though. It's due to the fact that I realize how badly I have screwed up my life. I don't want to repeat the process.

I stupidly agreed to undergo an urine drug screen at work. If I had refused, all that would have happened is that I would have been fired. After testing positive for a controlled substance, I was fired, and reported to my licensing board. I was prescribed the medication, but my level of the drug was off the charts. I wish that I had never agreed to the test. If I had refused, there would have been no evidence, and therefore nothing to report to the licensing board. I think that my common-sense took a long lunch break that day.

I am being forced by the powers-that-be at the monitoring program to participate in Narcotics Anonymous. I really don't enjoy attending meetings. I'm naturally introverted and don't care to share any of the details of my life with people in the meetings, though I'm sure that most of them a perfectly nice people and have perfectly good intentions. I have plenty of people in my life, with whom I share my innermost thoughts and feelings. I was also forced to find a sponsor and to work the twelve steps. I've been through treatment, which I didn't really mind, but it didn't address very much of the "why" of my addiction or how to deal with the "why". I think that I abused my Benzos prescription because I could check out emotionally. Two people that I loved beyond all reason died within rapid succession of one another. I used Benzos to numb some of the heartbreak. It worked, and then it didn't, and then my life was out of control. I did know better than to abuse my prescription, but at the time I didn't care. I just wanted to quit hurting. I'm almost 50 years old and have never had a problem with alcohol or drugs, 'til recently. I've also never been in trouble. I find it kind of funny that I've ended up where I am at this ripe old age.

Anyway, back to NA and the monitoring program. I read the NA text "Big Book". Mostly what I got out of it was a bunch of anecdotal "evidence" that it works. They were nice stories, and I'm glad that the folks writing them ended up in a better place, but I like science and good research. Addiction and Psych are not my niche, but I do know a little about them and I know that the success rate for maintaining sobriety is abysmal. I guess the thought is, "it's better than nothing".

There are no choices for participants of the monitoring program. It's NA, or nothing.....then no license to practice. I don't think that SMART, WFS, etc. will do. In fact, I know that if I even ask for an alternative to NA, it will just put me on someones radar. I came home from a meeting the other day feeling positively ICKY. I was getting a Scientology vibe. When I got home I Googled "Narcotics Anonymous and Cult" and found you.

The staff of the monitoring program have no way to verify whether or not I'm really attending meetings or working the steps. I have to self-report. I really don't want to lie, but I'm not too interested in spending my time in NA. I've come across a few people in the meetings that I think are truly mentally ill. I've also come across members that I think have personality disorders. They make me recoil in horror and I TRULY don't want to interact with them. My Daddy always told me "Don't put yourself in harm's way." Sometimes I feel like that's exactly what I'm doing by attending these meetings.

I don't dispute that I am a drug addict. I am. I'm a very stupid one, too. I don't dispute that I should have to do something to prove to my licensing board that I am worthy of a license. I've done every single thing that they've asked: treatment, community service, random drug testing, etc. Turning my mind, thoughts, and personal life over to NA is just too much. I'm not sure that everyone that I encounter in the meetings has my best interests at heart. Know what I mean?

Any advice? Sorry to be such a whiner. I realize that I put myself in this situation. I'm stuck in the monitoring program for the next 3-5 years.


P.S. If you use this on your site, please don't publish my email address. I don't want anymore trouble than I already have.

Hello Anonymous,

Thank you for the letter. Not to worry, I don't publish people's email addresses, or even their names, in cases like yours. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

What is being done to you is blatantly illegal and unConstitutional. The 12-Step recruiters do it often, but it is still illegal and wrong. The laws of the USA say that no one can legally force a religion on another person, or make them change their religion, or keep them from practicing the religion of their choice. (The "religion of your choice" can be anything: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist or Moslem, agnostic, atheist, mystic, cynic, or just "haven't decided yet".)

In the beginning, you said, "I am a drug addict, though I've not used anything in nine months."
I beg to differ: You should say, "I was a drug addict, but I've not used anything in nine months."

That is an important distinction — A.A. and N.A. make people label themselves alcoholics or addicts for the rest of their lives when they are not such things any more. That is bad, really bad, because it prevents people from recovering and growing. And it keeps people thinking bad thoughts about themselves.

I think it's really important to make that distinction because it changes your ego and your self-image, and your self-respect. When you have quit your addiction and stayed quit, your identity changes.

For example, I'm an ex-smoker. I smoked for 30 years, but now I have not had a cigarette in 13 years. I don't go around saying, "I'm a smoker. I'm only one cigarette away from a relapse." Wrong. I'm not a smoker, and I'm not anywhere near a relapse. I'm done with that, totally done with it. I'm living a free, healthy, unaddicted lifestyle now. The same thing applies to drugs and alcohol.

There is a very interesting thread over in the forum, about ASAM. ASAM is the "American Society of Addiction Medicine", a club for fallen doctors who have lost their licenses to practice medicine because of drug and/or alcohol problems, and who have "recovered" through the 12 Steps, and who are now scheming to foist their cult religion on everybody else. There is a scholarly paper listed there that is well-documented, and it explains how ASAM has weaseled itself into a position where it can pass judgement on other doctors, nurses, and medical workers as the judge and jury for all addiction issues in medical personel. See:

Check out this book: Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment, by Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky. (See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000. ISBN: 1-884365-17-5) It is more truth from the See Sharp Press about how to resist being coerced into the 12-Step cult. This book is now available for free download at: http://www.morerevealed.com/library.jsp

You said, "I've come across a few people in the meetings that I think are truly mentally ill."
Oh yes, absolutely yes. See the Cult Test item "Disturbed Followers". A couple of psychiatrists who studied the A.A. membership found that they ranged from neurotic all the way up to full-blown psychotic. Only 10% of the members were not mentally ill.

So please stop calling yourself an addict, and please stop saying that you are stupid. You are not stupid. Like you said, you decided all on your own to stop your addiction, so that your health and your life would be better. Congratulations. That is an intelligent choice. And I can appreciate how hard it is to do. I had to go through that too.

By the way, you might enjoy joining the forum. There are lots of like-minded people there who are very opposed to coerced 12-Step religion.

And here is a quote for you:

Creating A New Personality
All cults, no matter their stripe, are a variation on a theme, for their common denominator is the use of coercive persuasion and behavior control without the knowledge of the person who is being manipulated. They manage this by targeting (and eventually attacking, disassembling, and reformulating according to the cult's desired image) a person's innermost self. They take away you and give you back a cult personality, a pseudo personality. They punish you when the old you turns up, and they reward the new you. Before you know it, you don't know who you are or how you got there; you only know (or you are trained to believe) that you have to stay there.
== Janja Lalich

(Janja Lalich has co-authored several anti-cult and anti-brainwashing books, but I think that quote comes from a paper that she published on the Internet.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     ROBIN:  "Holy Higher Power, Batman! How can we Seek and Do
**             the Will of Doorknob Almighty? That's impossible,
**             because He won't ever open up and talk!"
**     BATMAN: "Shut up, Boy Blunder!
**             You're going to confuse the newcomers!"

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Simon_C ]

Date: Thu, January 9, 2014 8:10 am     (answered 13 January 2014)
From: "Simon C."
Subject: Debating Fallacy

Hello Terrance,

Thank you for your continuing efforts at presenting the truth. Your ever-increasing hit-count suggests that the truth is getting to more and more people all around the world. Whether they choose to accept it is not something over which you have any control, but I am optimistic.

I still like to visit your work quite frequently although I don't personally feel the need to enter into any discussions. To drink or not to drink really isn't a question that ever enters my mind now. It's just something I stupidly used to do. Like those years of AA, it's in my past and I don't feel the need to perform any activities or rituals in order to earn another "daily reprieve" from my higher power. Like you, I take pleasure now in simple things. That seems to work.

I just wanted to comment on a recent letter you received in which, amidst the other standard drivel, was one of my favourite debating fallacies, which I was delighted recently to discover has a whimsical name; Argumentum (or Reductio) ad Hitlerum. I don't see this listed in you Propaganda & Debating Techniques although its essence is certainly covered amongst several other tricks listed there.

This fallacy, which is commonly heard, is to compare your debating opponent to Hitler or the Nazis even when there is really no similarity whatsoever: "That's just what Hitler would have said!" "That's just the kind of thinking that led to Nazi Germany!" I guess people think that they'll win the debate simply because there's nothing nastier than a Nazi.

There's a nice example in the Fawlty Towers, Waldorf Salad episode when, buoyed-up by the loud-mouthed American guest, all the previously meek guests tell Basil how rubbish his hotel is. His response is "That's just how Nazi Germany started. A bunch of layabouts sitting around with nothing better to do..."

Of course, given the origins of the 12 Steps, the use of this fallacy in this context, directed at you, has a rather nice irony, don't you think?

The Orange Papers is a precious jewel. Please don't stop.



Hello Simon,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

You debating trick, Argumentum (or Reductio) ad Hitlerum, is a good one. It should be in the list of propaganda tricks. I'll have to put it in there.

It reminds me of something that a friend mentioned to me. I think he called it something like the Hitler constant. It was a numerical measurement of how long any Internet argument could go on before somebody compared the other side to Hitler or the Nazis. He also implied that whichever side mentioned Hitler first automatically lost the debate. While it's funny on one level, it's problematic on another level, because sometimes the comparison is valid. Like how the Oxford Group really was associated with the Nazis.

Yes, there is a certain irony there. To claim that I hate A.A. members like how Hitler hated the Jews is rather absurd. I just seem to be a little short of concentration camps and gas chambers.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "What good fortune for governments that the people do not think."
**         ==  Adolf Hitler
**     "To win the sympathy of the masses, you must tell them the
**      crudest and most stupid lies."
**         ==  Adolf Hitler
**     "Force without spiritual foundation is doomed to failure."
**         ==  Adolf Hitler
**     "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people
**     can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round,
**     to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
**         ==  Adolf Hitler
**      "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**         ==  Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, founder and leader of the
**             Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#James_M ]

Date: Fri, January 10, 2014 6:14 pm     (answered 14 January 2014)
From: "james m."
Subject: brilliant site


I was recently in detox where we were forced to sit through a 12 step meeting every evening except for SMART one night (didn't show up). Anyhow, I have had various experiences in AA and NA over the years- parents, treatment, desperation, etc. I awoke one morning at 4am with a brilliant diagrammatic structure of the program in my mind. I titled it "12 step programs: a cultic paradigm: my personal discomfort". None of the staff could dispute what I came up with. I do not wish to poison anyones positive experience in these programs, yet, I do recommend not checking your brain in at the door.

On further exploration after returning home I found your site. Absolutely brilliant. Keep up the good work. I will never be able to view 12 step groups the same. I do not dispute the value of one addict helping another. But, you don't need to join a "not religious, but spiritual" religious cult represented by a "simple spiritual program" which can only be found in "the rooms" of "the fellowship of AA". Keep the independent critical thinking mind you have been given. Free will is what it is all about — and the choices we make. That is why we are humans not robots.

Hello James,

Thank you for the letter and the comments. I quite agree, of course. I also really do not recommend "checking your brain at the door". That strikes me as being some kind of mental suicide.

And what a senseless waste. Our brains are like the crown of creation — precious jewels in a largely unintelligent universe. Just yesterday, I saw a PBS program on Alien Planets, and they discussed the likelihood of finding intelligent life out there. First, they had to find planets that are just the right size and temperature to have liquid water and rocky cores, and spawn life, and those are rare, but then evolving intelligent life with big brains might be very rare. There might be a whole lot of stupid life out there. They commented that sharks were 200 million years old, and sharks still have brains the size of a pea. They have no pressing need to become more intelligent, so they don't. Most of the life out there might be similar.

So here we are, unusual rare jewels of intelligence, and some fools wants us to stop thinking and just believe (—believe what they say). Uh, no thanks. I don't think so.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
**     who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
**     has intended us to forgo their use."
**       ==  Galileo Galilei

January 5, 2014, Sunday, my back yard in Forest Grove:

The two squirrels in my back yard, eating sunflower seeds
I don't know if they are a mated pair, but they are obviously not hostile to each other.

January 5, 2014, Sunday, Fernhill Wetlands:

A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron
A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron

Mongrel Domesticated ducks
The Mongrel Domesticated Ducks, coming to me for dinner.

Mongrel Domesticated ducks+Mallard
Mongrel Domesticated Ducks plus a wild Mallard Drake
This wild Mallard Drake has obviously learned from the domesticated ducks that I'm not a threat, and in fact, am a friend who feeds them, so he is joining in. This is the first time that I've seen him doing that.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Alexander_F ]

Date: Sat, January 11, 2014 8:27 pm     (answered 14 January 2014)
From: "Alexander_F."
Subject: Orange Papers Forum

To Orange Papers Administrators,

Hello, my names is Alexander F. and I just signed up for the Orange Papers Forum and was told to email this address to makes sure I'm not a "bogus spammer." I assure you I am not. The account name I created is Freddyboy0729.

I am hoping for approval because I have a lot of questions that are not being (and cannot be) answered at AA. I'm 22 years old and have nearly 17 months of sobriety. I cannot grasp the notion of a "Higher Power" and though I agree with much of what the program offers such as examining one's personal life in Step 4 to discover the reasons why I drank and used so heavily and couldn't stop, I can't help but wondering why I need a "Higher Power" or if I am truly "powerless" over alcohol and drugs. The main "drug" I used was marijuana and while I used other drugs occasionally, it was because of their availability and not because I was addicted to them. I want to go and try smoking marijuana but A.A. seems to want to convince me that the use of any drug (including marijuana) will lead to relapse and a similar situation to the one I was in prior to my coming to A.A. which was very unpleasant. But I can't help but think that now that I understand myself better, have come to grips with things from my past including resentments against my mother and father, have learned new ways of coping with difficult situations, and am no longer fearful of being forever alone, isolated, and alienated from the world (though intimate relationships with the opposite sex are still somewhat nerve-wracking) that I can smoke marijuana and be fine and continue my normal life. I don't want to be high 24/7 like I used to be and I don't want to spend all my money on weed and booze like I used to but I want to know whether or not I truly am powerless over mind-altering substances or whether I can enter into a life of normalcy where I might smoke weed or drink occasionally but not everyday all the time. I want to know if I can be like other people or if I will forever need A.A. and its twelve-steps to keep me sober and safe.

Please let me join the forum. I am in desperate need of assistance and advice.


Alexander F.

Hello Alexander,

You are in the forum. Welcome. And congratulations on your sobriety.

Now let me address the other issues that you mentioned.

First off, I think that you already are like other people, and no, you don't need to stay in A.A. or N.A. for the rest of your life. Smoking tons of pot when you are a teenager and then just maturing out of it is very common. You might even call it "normal". (I did the same thing too.)

And no, you are not "powerless over pot" or drugs, or alcohol, or any of that. That is just some nonsense that came from an old cult religion that was popular in the nineteen-thirties, something called The Oxford Group. The cult leader Dr. Frank Buchman declared that you were powerless over sin and had been defeated by it, and only "surrender to God" would save you. (So you had to join his cult and become his slave and surrender to him.)

Bill Wilson was a member of that cult, and when he was kicked out of it, he set up his own cult that was just a copy of Buchman's cult. Wilson just changed the wording to, "You are powerless over alcohol, and have been defeated by it", so you have to join Bill's cult and "surrender to a Higher Power." Nonsense. There is no truth to it.

If I could use myself as an example, I started smoking pot when I was 19, and smoked a lot for some years, and even moved to a hippie commune and lived a pretty stoned-out lifestyle for some years. And then I just outgrew it. "Matured out of it." I got to where I would only smoke a little now and then. As the years passed, I smoked less and less. And now, I just don't smoke it at all. It's been 13 years since I had a single toke. And I never officially quit pot or made any big effort to quit, or swore it off. I just lost interest in it and did other things instead.

Today, I refrain from smoking pot for three reasons:

  1. To save my lungs. I also smoked tobacco for too many years, and it really messed up my lungs, so now I don't smoke anything at all. I haven't had a puff of any kind of smoke in 13 years, and my lungs are clear and clean and I can inhale without wheezing.

  2. If I were to smoke pot now, I'd probably get so high that you would have to peel me off of the ceiling. I would probably want to smoke a cigarette and have a beer to make the room stop spinning. And that would be a disaster. So it's just not worth the hassle.

  3. I like the clarity. Having this many years of not getting high on anything has produced some real clarity, and I don't care to lose it now. Getting stoned would actually be a come-down.

About this question:

I don't want to be high 24/7 like I used to be and I don't want to spend all my money on weed and booze like I used to but I want to know whether or not I truly am powerless over mind-altering substances or whether I can enter into a life of normalcy where I might smoke weed or drink occasionally but not everyday all the time. I want to know if I can be like other people or if I will forever need A.A. and its twelve-steps to keep me sober and safe.

You are already maturing out of your addictive behavior. You are already weaning yourself off of pot. You don't want to stay high all of the time.

You are not powerless. You certainly do not need to spend the rest of your life in A.A. or N.A. meetings, "working the Steps". When they tell you that you do need to, that is just the cult talking, trying to recruit another lifelong slave.

You have already been examining your life, and figuring out what compulsions were driving you to want to get high all of the time. That is good. And you do not need the 12 Steps to do that. In fact, it is better if you don't use the 12 Steps, because the 12 Steps are designed to induce guilt and weaken you, and mess with your mind. You don't want to get into a guilt-inducing self-condemnation routine; you just want to see what compulsions were driving you, and then you can figure out how to handle them.

Remember that Step 4 does a "moral inventory." That is not a psychological inventory, or a mental inventory, or a survey of childhood abuse or bad experiences in the past, or an analysis of your thinking; it is a guilt-inducing moral inventory, which implies that you have been immoral. Baloney. Smoking pot is not immoral. Again, that is the cult trying to mess with your mind and make you feel guilty and weaken you. You don't need that.

It is good to examine your desires and your thinking, and figure out what makes you want to get high. See the desires and compulsions, and understand them. That will help you to get free of the compulsions and strong desires. But you don't have to — and shouldn't — put a moralistic slant on it. You need a "moral inventory" for pot like you need an extra hole in your head.

You have already mentioned a couple of things, like loneliness and social anxiety and anger at your parents. Apparently that drives you to want to get high, so that you will feel better when you feel lonely. Okay, that is a start. You are seeing what is going on. You can continue to watch your own mind, and you will see what is happening, and making you feel the way that you do. Then you can work on that.

Good luck now, and don't hesitate to ask more questions if you have some. And there are plenty of people in the forum who will be happy to help, too.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     [The Oxford Group recruiters] Ebby and Shep C. were now asking him [Bill
**     Wilson] to give up the one attribute of which he was the most proud, the
**     one quality that set a man above the animals — his inquiring,
**     rational mind. And they wanted him to give this up for an illusion.
**     Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 18, and
**     Bill W., Robert Thomsen, pages 213-214.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Alexander_F2 ]

Date: Tue, January 14, 2014 4:24 pm     (answered 15 January 2014)
From: "Alexander F."
Subject: Re: Orange Papers Forum

Thank you so much! I've already used the forum and received a lot of helpful feedback there as well. As for now, because of commitments I made to young person's group in A.A., I've decided to be responsible and follow through on commitments. At the same time, I'm cutting back on meetings and only attending as far as necessary to follow through on that commitment. I feel part of getting better is not dropping out of something you promised to do because you don't want to. You stick to your promises and commitments no matter how tedious unless they'll bring harm to another. From my perspective being at A.A. enables to help people there and help them recognize the things I am beginning to recognize without going too deep into the A.A. rabbit hole. I'm also going to talk to my sponsor and explain these things. Again, I find being honest is something I didn't used to do and rather than just dropping off the planet, it's more honest to explain the matter to him personally. Thanks again!

Hi again, Alex,

That sounds good, very good. I wish you the best.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      There is a tide in the affairs of men,
**      Which taken at the flood, leads onto fortune.
**      Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
**      Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Jim_O ]

Date: Mon, January 13, 2014 2:38 am     (answered 14 January 2014)
From: "Jim O."

I guess I'm not as smart as you when it comes to statistics but I still don't see how 0 people have been helped to get sober through the AA program. I go to about 3 regular meetings a week and in those meetings there is an average of 30 people in attendance. About 15 people in each meeting have been sober for more than 2 years. That makes 45 people in the 3 meetings I attend that have told me they would not be sober without the AA program. I take their word for it. Just like I take your word for it when you say you are sober.

Like coach Kilmer said to his new QB after Lance got hurt — damn, you're the dumbest smart kid I've ever seen.


Hello Jim,

Thanks for the question. Alas, you are twisting my words. I did not say that nobody ever got sober in A.A.; what I said is that A.A. does not improve on the situation at all. Alcoholics who get no "A.A. help" or "12-Step Program" do just as well as people who devote their lives to A.A., and in fact, the independent people often do better.

You have listed some sober people who go to A.A. meetings, but you didn't say anything about the A.A. failure rate. What percentage of the newcomers get 10 years of sobriety? That is the count that matters. You have to count the failures as well as the success stories.

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

No qualifiers are allowed, like, "We will only count the people who worked the program right, or we will only count the people who really tried, and kept coming back." Everybody counts. No exceptions.

No excuses are allowed. When the doctor gives a patient penicillin, and it fails to cure the infection, the doctor doesn't get to say, "But he didn't work the program right. He didn't pray enough. He didn't surrender. He held something back in his Fifth Step." No excuses.

So what's the actual A.A. cure rate?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

If you can't even say what the A.A. cure rate is, then you don't have much of an argument for saying that A.A. is a good thing.

The fact that some people at your meetings believe that they would not have gotten sober without A.A. only proves that A.A. is good at making some people believe things. But so is every other cult.

The most damning information about the uselessness of A.A. came from Dr. and Prof. George E. Vaillant, who just loves A.A. and who tried for 20 years to prove that A.A. works. He tracked his first 100 A.A.-treated patients for 8 years, and at the end of that period, he reported that A.A. had not improved the situation at all. Untreated people recovered at the same rate as the A.A.-treated people. In fact, the A.A. people had the highest death rate of any way of treating alcoholism that Dr. Vaillant studied. (Look here.) Nevertheless, Dr. Vaillant still loves A.A., even after he proved that it doesn't work, and he went on to become a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., and he still promotes A.A., and sings its praises. He openly declares that A.A. is a cult, but he thinks that the A.A. cult religion is just wonderful.

**    "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.
**     "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**     indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**     world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
**     efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
**     mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
**     of proper separation between church and state."
**     == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**     The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

Most of the people who recover from alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction do it alone, without A.A. or any so-called "self-help group". The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health reported most of the sober successful people did it without A.A.:

"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 people who stay in A.A. have a lot of problems, like:

  1. An increased suicide rate
  2. An increased divorce rate
  3. An elevated death rate
  4. An elevated binge drinking rate
  5. An increased arrest rate
  6. Increased costs of hospitalization
  7. Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers.
Those are not the results of a good treatment program.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Never was there a study that substance abusers were suffering
**     from a lack of spirituality, thus being the reason they got
**     addicted. This is how AA approaches the problem, condemning
**     the addict as being spiritually sick without any proof.
**     ==  Submitted by SallyJ on February 3, 2013 — 9:26pm.
**         Comments to Psychology Today article,
**         "Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?"
**         http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201301/does-12-step-treatment-work-inducing-ptsd/comments?page=5

[The next letter from Jim_O is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Rainbow ]

Date: Wed, January 15, 2014 5:05 pm     (answered 15 January 2014)
From: "Rainbow."
Subject: more birds for you :)

Hi Orange,
I have some bird pics for you. Enjoy!
And happy new year.

Wild Birds



[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Hello Rainbow,

Those are beautiful pictures. Thank you very much. And those little goslings are so cute. I don't know what it is about goslings, but I find them to be just about the cutest and most beautiful little creatures in the world.

And now I need to figure out what the names of those species are.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
**     Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Forebearance

[The previous letter from Jim_O is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html#Jim_O2 ]

Date: Tue, January 14, 2014 9:29 pm     (answered 15 January 2014)
From: "Jim O."
Subject: RE: Re:

First off let me say I wasn't trying to be rude, there was an attempt at humor on my part but unfortunately humor doesn't always come through in my writing. Gotta start recognizing this point before hitting the send button!! Know that AA didn't' keep me sober, it helped a little to help me help myself, that's my belief — I could be wrong. Staying sober remains in the realm of my willpower and where I obviously disagree with AA teaching — I will be sober 7 years Feb 22. Another disagreement I have with AA, I know I will not pick up another drink or drug, ever. I know come Feb 22 I will still be sober.

Hello again Jim,

I didn't think that you were rude. Sorry if I gave that impression. And congratulations on your 7 years of sobriety. It leaves you feeling so much healthier, doesn't it?

And right, we are not in great danger of instant relapse. Who wants to return to that kind of suffering? Been there, done that. And I'm so done with it. The way I feel now is like Hell will freeze over before I go back to drinking. There are just so many other, better, things to do with my life than being sick and miserable and in pain. I'm hearing the Carly Simon song in my head, the one that says, "I haven't got time for the pain..."

However, I do believe there is a percent of people who have remained sober due to "rigorously" following the AA program. Not sure you can quantify what that exact percent is and I believe it is futile to try, I know I'm not in it though. Conversely it would be futile to quantify the failure rate and when I made an attempt at following it " rigorously" I also failed. I do agree with a great deal of your research. I also agree that the number is most likely a small percent if you could calculate it. I don't know of a lot of people who walk into their first AA meeting and never pick up again. I do however, know of a few who have. To your point, I think — can we say AA cured these people? I don't think so, but many of them think so. If they say it did, then who am I to argue?

That is an open question — the people who might be sober because of obsession with A.A., or just intense involvement with A.A. Now it does seem like there must be at least a few people who will stay sober while heavily participating in A.A., and who would go back to drinking without A.A. to keep them busy and keep them company. But if there are such people, then they should improve A.A.'s numbers, which isn't happening. So what gives?

The people whom A.A. is keeping sober should make A.A. have a greater success rate than the do-it-yourselfers get. But the A.A. numbers are not better; they are just the same. There seem to be only two possible logical answers:

  1. Either A.A. doesn't really sober anybody up, or
  2. A.A. makes some other people relapse who would otherwise have succeeded in staying sober, thus evening out the numbers.

I suspect that the second one is the answer, especially when we notice that Dr. Vaillant found that A.A. caused the highest death rate of any way of treating alcohol abuse that he studied.

I didn't twist your words, or at least didn't mean to. You're a far better arguer than I so I wouldn't even try but if 45 people say they have remained sober due to following the AA program then that's the number (not percent and I shouldn't have used the word percent) I know of. What amount of people in that time went to AA meetings and didn't get sober? Thousands. So point taken about percents.

Yes. But I don't think it's because I'm a better arguer. It's just that some numbers are pretty irrefutable. There are some true numbers that you just cannot argue with.

And you can find sober people everywhere and anywhere, from the Mormon church to the Seventh Day Adventists to the Church of Scientology, just for starters. But I don't think that those things are cures for alcohol addiction either.

Just finding 45 sober people somewhere is actually pretty meaningless, mathematically. In terms of logical fallacies, it's called The Semi-Attached Figure. You could probably find 45 sober people at the train station too, but I don't think that proves that trains are the cure for alcohol abuse.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that AA has always been fairly clear to me. A lot of assholes, bullies and cultish types preaching a religious cure for all that ails us. Also, a few good people who don't fit those categories and who have helped me help myself, which I think I read you agree with. We don't preach to newcomers, I am in constant disagreement with AAs who profess their way is the only way to get and stay sober. It is not, but some of it did help me to help myself. I attend AA meetings because I like some of it and some of the people. But I'm a strong person and do recognize many vulnerable people come into AA meetings and are snatched up instantly and end up in a far worse predicament than when they started. A small group of friends and I try to help these people — We listen. We don't tell them if they don't follow AA teachings their misery will be refunded and I don't ever tell anyone their best thinking made them alcoholic. I tell them to not pick up that first drink and to reach down deep into themselves for the courage to not pick it up and if they feel they are going to lose that battle on a given day to give me call and I'll see if I can help in some way. Is that AA? To me it is but my definition is different than most. However, I'm as entitled to it as Bill W was to his opinions. To me AA is really not about what someone else says it is, it's what I believe it to be, for me.

Thanks for helping the vulnerable newcomers. The world needs more of that. You sound like you could be a member of the Newcomers Rescue League.

I agree that Bill Wilson was a charlatan and pretty messed up human being, when sober. The AA defense of "well he was an alcoholic what did you expect" doesn't fly with me. Alcoholism is not an excuse to be an unbridled asshole and should not be used as one. I'll share the single most telling experience of my early AA attendance that opened my eyes to some of the pitfalls around AA. Having joined a cult I was told to "stick with the winners" which I assumed to mean do things with people who are sober and in the AA program. I like fishing and so joined a group of sober AAs on a trip down the shore to do some fishing. I watched them litter and throw their garbage out of the car on the ride down the shore. I watched them dump gasoline into Barnegat Bay. I watched them kill undersized fish all while smoking pack after pack of cigarettes. After that trip I realized what they had I didn't want. I knew what I wanted and finally began my journey in doing the things I needed to do to achieve it but the experience did help me, as strange as that may sound. But keep in mind everyone's journey will be different because we are individuals. But, and this is a big but, AA doesn't have to suck. Just ignore the assholes


Ah yes. I can only agree. I know what you mean. I've also been disappointed with some "spiritual" groups whose actions didn't match the high-falutin' speeches. In old jazz terms, they talk the talk but don't walk the walk. When I find groups like that, I just go someplace else.

Good luck to you now, and have a good day.

== 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

[The next letter from Jim_O is here.]

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Last updated 26 January 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters385.html