Anti AA Sites

Anti AA Sites and Forums Such as the Orange Papers Forum

This is an old post about the Anti AA world from 2013 when the site was still running so it is out of date in some ways as well as having some broken links. here is a newer related post on the Anti AA world as I now see it

I used to enjoy going to blogs such as the Stinkin Thinkin Site which still exists in an archive format. It had a good bunch of people and was well written  as well as being humorous. ( I must lighten this place up a bit!). A lot of members of the 12 step world tried to derail threads but it remained popular while it ran. The  owners decided to turn it into an archive but you can comment on there now if you want, although it is not fast-moving as it was in the past. I do miss it and some of the contributors.

Other sites take a very aggressive stance which in my opinion make many who question quite legitimate points about the 12 Step process, look foolish. The orange papers forum is rarely moderated and as  a result trolls and cranks are able to derail threads at will. Here is another post on my blog which shows the type of behaviour there and why most people avoid it although it is even worse these days as the site owner seems to have just left the forum and a few people are taking advantage of the situation. Any forum site that does not have effective moderation will suffer and any new member can be met with suspicion. The original forum that was on this domain had to be closed due to members of the Orange Papers forum attacking people, each other and breaching privacy. This type of behaviour adds to the argument that people who do not follow the 12 step way, are the dry drunks that AA loves to promote. Of course this is not the case, and many who join these forums are rational, but they tend to be hidden amongst those who are unstable, do not have jobs and seem to spend all day on the internet. Many simply seem to have swapped an alcohol addiction for a blogging addiction rather than developing a wide range of interests and moving forward and achieving something in life. Most of the posts have little relevance to the orange papers themselves, and are simply childish, stupid squabbles.

I am not that interested in old conspiracy theories about Bill Wilson and the fact that he took LSD, or somebody in the Oxford group praised Hitler before the war (In fact the character assassination of Frank Buchman who actually was  decorated by the French and German governments as well as being commended by Roosevelt for his contributions to Franco-German reconciliation after World War II, is really poor and shows the length that the writer will go to discredit AA by putting pictures of Hitler next to Bill Wilson. In doing this, he destroys much of his credibility), but this does not really matter to his small bunch of followers. In fact there are many sections of the Orange-papers which do not stand up to investigation, and look like a rather desperate attempt by a lone figure sitting in a public library, to simply sling mud at an organisation he does not like. I am interested in today. I agree that AA etc, has its problems and has not moved with the times, but if you read some of the posts, on some sites, you would think that you are joining an orgy of violence rather than a support group for ex drunks. I understand the problems with 13 stepping and the fact that there are young people mixing with some other rather unsavoury characters, that can join these groups. I am glad these points are being brought to people’s attention, but other people are just lashing out, at a group that they should not have really spent much time in. The irony is that they have somehow managed to stop drinking, and for a lot of them the process started in AA. The 12 Steps may turn off many, including myself, with the religious  side, but there is nothing to stop you leaving a group especially in this day and age. These people often say take responsibility for your recovery, but then blame AA for the fact that they failed to get sober in the past. They say you can get sober on your own, but this was not something they managed for a long time, so they take it out on AA. They want to be spoonfed rather than do the work.

I doubt that I will ever attend another 12 step meeting and although I think it could do with modernisation and has many faults, I do not want it destroyed. There are certainly cult type members, who will try to control, but once you come to your senses you can ignore them and move on. You are always going to get strange people in an AA group, as that goes with the territory. However if you simply want to destroy it, you will not improve things for many. It gives people somewhere to go, in their early days that is dry, and it gives you some people to talk to. Although I think Smart Recovery could probably help more people today, it does not have the infrastructure at the moment to do this and the antis seem to overlook this. In fact, many people on the orange forum actually attack Smart because you cannot attack AA in some meetings. They are too self-absorbed to realise that maybe, there are more important subjects to talk about when somebody is trying to break from addiction than trashing AA.

I did find reading posts about how the 12 steps were not the answer, when I was thinking about leaving AA was helpful. I would never have joined any religious group willingly, and did not realise how AA functioned when I joined, but although I do not participate in religion, I do recognise the right of others to do so if they wish. There is a lot of hypocrisy on many anti sites who defend certain groups, while attacking others. Maybe the internet is a place for them to let off steam, but unlike normal forums, you have the risk of vulnerable people getting dragged into situations, that they should not be in, with no real support. Some people use these places as a support group because they like the way that some members lash out at 12 Step groups, but they may find themselves in a more unstable place than an AA group, with no real backup.

Spending all day behind a computer attacking a group like AA is not going to achieve much. Going out and helping people, or putting people in touch with those that can help is something that can make a real difference. The work that is done by those on blog talk radio or the leavingAA etc site is in a different class to the people who just want to bolster their own ego by writing something spiteful. They become part of another dysfunctional group in recovery, and egg each other on, which justifies their point of view to themselves, in a similar way to 12 steppers pushing the steps. They could not even stop their wife going to AA, let alone make a single meeting close!

I have attacked groups like AA in the past, but have moved on. Sometimes taking a step back from things can help with perspective. I feel some of the Anti groups are now dominated by those with extreme views,who enjoy going on other blogs where they will not be welcome for the small hit, they get from confrontation. This is not a very positive thing to do, and will just make you more bitter and twisted in the long-term. It does not help the recovery movement or anyone who is trying to build up an alternative. If people are looking for another solution, they can find it in this day and age.

I was no fan of the steps and did not like a lot of AA members who were more interested in Dogma than really helping others. They treated the  Big Book like a Bible and Bill Wilson as a prophet.I must acknowledge that it gave me a place to go, where I could sit in relative peace, with people who had suffered from the same problem. I was not isolating behind a computer and was inspired by some of the people who had been homeless, yet still managed to break free from addiction. In the end I came to the conclusion that it was simply the decision  to change and to put a bad way of life behind us that saves anyone, who succeeds in their battle with addiction, rather than the program. I don’t use any support system these days other than my friends and my few relatives. I don’t think of myself as an addict as I have simply moved on. It was not easy at the start and things may have been smoother with a different approach, but it was me that got into trouble in the first place and me that changed things to get out.


Commenting area

  1. I understand that the stinkin thinking blog is coming back in a new form soon. I believe it will be more recovery based as opposed to muckraking, but lets help it works out and the idiots on both sides don’t wreck it this time.

  2. I have just seen a great piece on Steven Slate’s site about the anti AA movement and the fact that they offer little in the way of rational solution in many cases.

    You can find the whole piece here and I think it is really worth reading because he does address the cult aspects of the 12 step world and other problems, but also points out a big flaw in the anti AA movement which are based on sites like the orange papers forum, which tend to be full of people shouting at each other.

    I can see why people get angry. Some people are badly affected by the methods used in AA. I would certainly class some of the more dominant members as sociopaths who wish to tell people what to do and they can change the dynamics of a whole group. This is true of groups who are obsessive about the steps. However, in many of the blogs that I have recently been reading and have added to my links section, I can see people who have simply moved on and are not obsessed, in the way that many in the anti forums are. That is good to see, and the more people that show that differing methods can work, the better. AA is still huge and there is nothing with such a big infrastructure to replace it. I is not perfect, and some, like myself had some negative experiences but I have to offset that with the fact that I was inspired to stop drinking when I went to AA and it was good to see that people could stay off the drink for 30 years or so, when I was starting out.

    Anyway here is a quote from Stevens site.

    “Missing The Point

    I saw a post on Facebook that compared AA to Narconon (the rehab based on Scientology). It drew several comparisons – that both are cults, based on a personality (Bill W or L Ron Hubbard), based on teaching from an old book, etc. But most importantly, the post kept stressing that neither were run or founded by medical professionals. So what? Yes, Narconon has deep problems, but the bigger fundamental problem is that they claim addiction is not a disease, yet they purport to offer “treatment” for it. Treatment for what? A nonexistent disease? How can someone be expected to believe they don’t have a disease when this taught to them by people claiming to “treat” them for the very same imaginary disease? Narconon centers aren’t the only ones making this tragic error. There are others out there, and you can easily figure out who you are.
    This course of action is clearly ill-conceived: to battle the disease concept of addiction, and preach that it’s false – then offer “treatment for addiction” is self-contradictory. If you activists reading this can understand how utterly nonsensical this is in practice, then hopefully you will stop missing the point, and understand that it’s also ridiculous to recommend the same. You can’t argue against the disease concept, and then recommend treatment. You can’t argue against teaching people to feel personally weak and dependent on a lay-led support system – then proceed to teach people to feel personally weak and dependent on a “professionally” led support system. You can’t argue so brilliantly against the biological determinism of the disease model of addiction, only to turn around and proclaim that nutritional deficiencies or even simple withdrawal are the causes of substance use. Well, I guess you can do these things, but if you expect to be taken seriously, then you’re headed for a deep disappointment. Such advice is inherently self-contradictory. If the disease and weakness teachings are the problem, they are the problem.
    To those of you who are against 12-step programs because of its cult-like aspects, yet you turn around and recommend alternative support groups, what do you think you’re recommending? The elements that lead to this problematic atmosphere are clear enough for anyone to see:
    See yourself as being “in need of support”
    See relationships with others who’ve “faced the same struggles” as some sort of medicine you need in order to “cope”
    Create a system where anyone can join this group of others
    Get all of these people together, and encourage them to pour their guts out to each other – and to rely on each other as lifelines
    Why should a “mutual support group” by any other name result in anything less than the mess that is AA?
    How absurd do the following statements sound?:
    You’re not powerless – but you need a mutual support group. Screw those people who say you’ll relapse without the support of AA – but you better make sure you get help with your “underlying issues” from the properly trained and licensed professionals. You don’t have a disease, but you need medical treatment for your addiction.
    AA members and other 12-step pushers (such as interventionists and those who work in treatment centers) are quick to confront troubled substance users, label them as diseased and powerless, and claim that they’re in denial if they disagree with these views. Many anti-12-steppers and “alternative treatment” pushers are quick to reject this nonsense, but then they more subtly tell people that they’re weak. They tell them that without the proper “coping methods” and “support network” they’ll relapse. They often sell people a kinder gentler version of powerlessness. Is this any better than being straightforward about it?
    To the anti-12-step/anti-disease-model movement – I beg of you, stop missing the point. Figure out what you’re fighting for, and fight for it consistently. Otherwise, you risk delivering troubled people into the hands of equally harmful systems of help.
    Starting Fresh

    What if you recalled what really hurt you and others in 12-step programs – being taught that you were weak, powerless, diseased, and in need of an outside force to direct your life – and you threw all of that garbage out, then started fresh? What if you tried to help people without all of that baggage? What would you do?
    Would you tell them they need medicine and professional medical help for anything other than detoxification (or related medical problems)? That is – would you tell them they need medicine to make different choices?
    Would you tell them that instead of a 12-step sponsor, they should have a therapist or counselor direct their life?
    Would you offer up a total non-sequitur, such as “you need vitamins and nutritional supplements to stay sober?”
    Would you tell them that if they don’t find a way to avoid or deal with every normal problem of living that everyone faces (stress, anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness, etc), then they will be forced to continue to use substances heavily?
    Would you tell them anything that indicates that they are inherently weak and helpless/powerless?
    Would you tell them anything that would overcomplicate their problem?
    Try this when you personally take the time to attempt to help someone with a substance use problem: Don’t believe that they are powerless or weak, because they aren’t. Believe that they are powerful and capable of making whatever changes they may end up wanting. Don’t believe they are a helpless victim when it comes to substance use, because they aren’t. Believe that they are willfully choosing substance use for the same basic reason everyone else chooses it – because it offers a quick thrill in the form of a physical sensation – immediate gratification. Don’t believe that stress or anxiety or any other so-called “underlying issues” are causing their substance use, because it isn’t. Believe that human behavior has reasons, not causes. Don’t believe that people use substances for negative reasons, because they don’t. Believe that people use substances for the quick bursts of pleasure that they bring. Also, believe that everyone is capable of making choices that bring them greater levels of happiness than substance use.
    After you’ve got these ideas straight, have a real conversation, where you listen, where there is a give and take, where you don’t tell them how to live their life. Ask questions. Do they think that their substance use habit is bringing them the quality and quantity of happiness they’re looking for? If so, leave it at that – you don’t get to decide what they want. If not, do they think they might have better options available to them? Would they be happier with no substance use? Less substance use? How so? What would they rather do with their time and resources? How could they make that happen? When do they want to make that happen?
    Why would anyone need credentials to have this conversation? Why would anyone need “support” to keep themselves from making choices that they no longer find attractive? Why should people think that this needs to be a big struggle, and that it needs to be dragged out? Why shouldn’t people just believe that they can move on with their lives as soon as they realize they want to pursue greater happiness in other ways?
    And if you’re going to try to offer a formal system of help for people with substance use problems, make sure it offers them the same as above, and more if possible. Are you capable of offering people a path to self-discovery, shame free evaluation of choices, empowerment, and new awareness of life options? If you can design a method of help that offers these things, without breeding a sense of inherent weakness and dependency, then you will have something helpful. If not, then you’re probably offering 12-step-lite.
    Don’t get me wrong here – you don’t have to offer an alternative method of help in order to spread a message that is helpful to people with substance use problems. Far more people get over these problems without help than with help. Moreover, the best data available show that people are not more likely to change their substance use habits with help than without it. And let’s be clear about something, if people weren’t told that addiction is a special hard to solve problem, then they would deal with it as they do other life problems – just like bad relationships or dead-end jobs – they would naturally look for something better and change it. So, you can be helpful just by arming people with the knowledge that their substance use problems are not a special case of disease, powerlessness, or weakness. If you’re good at spreading that message, why would you turn around and ruin it by recommending a form of help that contradicts that message? Why not just spread the word that people are powerful and capable of changing and making more fulfilling choices?
    One quick note – Medical help is obviously needed in some cases of withdrawal syndrome from drugs and alcohol – in order to safely treat the physical symptoms of withdrawal (not to “treat addiction”), but I don’t know why anyone would recommend medical help for the ongoing choice to use substances, unless they already believed that addiction is a disease.
    I don’t know how it happened – whether the recovery culture co-opted the anti-12-step/anti-disease movement, or whether this movement has simply fallen into the trap of accepting the premises laid out by AA (powerlessness, disease, loss of control) – but I’m afraid that many in this movement are doing nothing more than putting gold paint on the giant turd that is the conventional recovery culture. If you want to offer something different, then offer something that is truly different – something that isn’t built on the same weak foundation as the recovery culture.”

    I think he is making a really good point, and I also think more people would be hurt, if there was not a group to go to at some point, if they need it. In a city like London you can go from meeting to meeting if you are feeling really bad and need to keep away from drink. I’m no supporter of the higher power/ group of drunks stuff but I do not see everything as negative. Some meetings are very cult like. AA members have even setup a site called AA cult watch and I went to some of those meetings that they mention but I do not see it as a full on cult like scientology. Some members do go rather odd and many start to speak in cliches, but I suppose all groups can be looked as a bit strange by outsiders. I think you can say the same for some obsessive bloggers who have had an addiction to alcohol, then AA meetings and then become addicted to writing about the same thing, night after night. They call it deprograming but it seems to be just making them more and more fanatical.

    I will write more about this in the future as I was very anti AA for a bit when I left and felt that I had been lied to. I am still not a fan, and think many progress faster and stronger with different methods, but I find hard to blame every relapse that happens to an AA member on the program or the fellowship. It was not for me, and I wish they would be more open about alternatives when you ask as a newcomer, which would have helped me, and I think so many that need help are put off by the God stuff that they don’t get any help, but that still does not mean it should be destroyed, which is what some seem to want.

    • I took the point of the article, and the title “To the Anti-AA Movement: What are you fighting for?” to be provocative, because “what are you fighting FOR” is a typical thing for an AA member to ask an Anti-AA activist, as if criticism in itself is not of any value. Sarcasm in articles like this is also easy to misread. The point of the article is that Anti-AA activists when seduced into promoting ‘alternatives’ to appear more ‘positive’ and be taken seriously by the Recovery Community often find themselves inadvertently arguing for AA concepts such as the need for an addiction support group. Most alternative groups, like the freethinkers movement in AA, are sure that one thing or another isn’t quite right in AA, but haven’t thought through all the AA baggage that they are still fighting FOR (like WAAFT members fighting for the right to be AA members ).

      • Steven used to comment quite a lot on the Stinkin thinkin blog in the early days and is certainly critical of AA and other parts of the recovery world. I think it is a thought provoking piece which resulted in a lot of criticism from anti AA people, such as the Orange papers forum crowd when it was writen some time ago. If you look at the coments and his reply to them on the original piece, I think he is quite clear what he means.

        • Rowland Cheatham April 7, 2017 at 6:58 am · · Reply

          I am not necessarily fighting for or against anything. I am stating what is my truth and apparently the truth of millions of others who have been scalded by 12 step fundamentalism, almost if not always in a state of such desperation “anything is better than this.” For me the repetitive monotony of meetings is a kin to the maddening Groundhog Day nature of addiction itself. so much of what is said, preached, rammed down our throats is far from the absolute truth it is presented to be. It has taken me a long, long time to not feel like Pavlov’s dog several times a day when I was “supposed” to be in a meeting. Much of the complaints I have had in the past or these days simply beating a dead horse, but if it weren’t for orange papers and similar sites I would’ve never found any connection or relief.

          • Where are these millions that have been scalded by AA? When ever the Anti AA lot try a petition etc they are lucky if they get 100 people. I updated this post here Most people simply move on.

          • Rowland Cheatham April 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm · ·

            Most of them are probably dead.

          • Why would they all be dead? Most manage to do quite well after getting a period of stability in their life.

          • Look at, and you can see the lengths the cult will go to try to destroy anybody who speaks out. I’ve talked to doctors who’ve cowered into silence for simple self-preservation. The fear of speaking out is very real. I experienced it. First there is the superstition that you will make a fool of yourself and die. Then there is the fear of being sued for slander (It was in fact suggested that I may ‘face litigation’ if i continued to speak out about it in a public forum like FaceBook). Then there is outright censorship. Yelp takes money to make bad reviews disappear, and professionals who are more interested in profit than finding out what’s true will happily pay them. Then there is the stigma that AA supposedly fights against, but actually actively works to create against anybody who might speak out against AA.

          • I don’t know what you are going on about now, but you seem to live life in a state of high drama. If AA was as bad as you seem to think, they would all be fighting all the time. I found AA monotonous and was not interested in the religious stuff so simply left. Being in a sober group in my early days helped for a while then I moved on. Many people do this and leave those that want to stay there in peace. I took responsibility for my recovery and found plenty of other solutions out there.

          • Rowland Cheatham April 9, 2017 at 1:11 am · ·

            Funny. I don’t know what you have going on right now but your aloof, callous defense of AA is similar in all your responses. And smug superiority.

          • Well you could always try reading the rest of the blog to find out. There are a couple of hundred pages which are mainly about alternatives to AA. There are sections on books which list many titles that recognise AA is not the only way or the best way. There is a fair amount of information on The Sinclair Method and Smart Recovery and some podcasts. Most people that find this site via Google etc are looking leave AA and find alternatives. Judging by their emails they do not feel they have been brainwashed, were in a cult they could not leave or interested in bashing other people’s support groups. They are not small minded like the few people who make up the anti AA world, who love to tell others how they should be doing recovery, in a similar manner to the overzealous AA sponsors that they go on about endlessly.

  3. I agree with much you say here. I think the reason anti AA stuff dint get more stuff done was because of the infighting and a lot of talk and no action. Also I see a tendency to become black & white think ing just like in AA. Like its my way or the highway. also not cool. And a waste of time. I have many solutions…even some to make AA better..safer, more modern. I hate AA now and I think its toxic as it now lives.

    people need to know the truth but The OP Forum has been highjacked by crazy shit…

    • I think you are right. I got a message from the Stinkin Thinkin people that they are putting the site back up but it is going to be more about helping people to recover and less about confrontation. When you get hard liners dominating a forum it can go to pot. I’m going to go with a mixture of stuff on this site. I’ve read some good blogs by people who are simply doing their own thing in recovery and I find that really inspiring. I do want to help some people, I will point out that 12 step is not for all. I did have a bad experience and was lucky to get some one on one help.

      Anyway welcome to the blog and I hope you come back!

  4. I like your approach. I am new to this whole debate after a huffpost article I wrote last year completely changed my world as a clinician trained at the Hazelden Graduate School for Addiction Studies. I wish I could go back in time and erase all the times I recommended the 12 steps to a client.

    I disagree with something here. The orange papers is far more than the forum where people chat. It is hundreds of pages of legitimate research synthesized into laymans terms. This is no easy task. A lot of the research he did took him so long that you can tell he spent thousands of hours writing each topic and painstakingly put his findings, some of which are 50 – 110 pgs long. His work is so filled with facts, it can be daunting, but he somehow wrote it to be easily read piece by piece. He seriously did his research and states the facts directly … with a great sense of humor. The orange papers forum is a tiny part if his website. I tried the forum for a couple of weeks. What I saw was the people doing the disrupting and distorting and trolling are the pro-AA people. I don’t know why they would want to spend anytime on an anti-AA website, except to plead their brainwashed case, but they are there to pick fights and attack anyone who disagrees with their beloved program with nothing but ad hominem nonsense like ‘you’re killing people, you must be saying this for financial reasons, you must be in denial, or a dry drunk, or not a real alcoholic’, or hundreds of other crazy claims. They cannot refute what is being said, they can only attack the critic personally online. Pretty cowardly if you ask me.

    The anti-AA people are, for the most part, there to discuss their shared experiences and get feedback. As you have stated somewhere in your blog it is not easy to leave AA. They are there for support. They are there for the support they never received in AA. They are there to find answers to why they listened to the damaging dogma of the program and wasted so much time there. They are there to deprogram from the lies of AA.

    Do they fall into the trap of attempting to reason with AA true believers? Naturally. Does Terry need to moderate more? He sure does but you know, that’s not really what he signed up for. He is not a young man and he has better things to do than monitor a bunch of crazy shit going on online. He would never be able to do anything other than moderate his website and like I said, he has better things to do with his time. That’s how popular his website is. Even if he paid himself (he would have to sell ads on his site) he would have to hire other people. There is no way one person could moderate all that traffic. He did step in when I told him of a particular troll that was bothering me (and one of the reasons I disengaged), and blocked her/him from the site. I heard that when these trolls get blocked from a site, they just sign right back up under a different name. Oy.

    I don’t know enough about stinkinthinkin to comment but take another look at the orange papers.

    Anyway, great blog.

    • Hello, thanks for your post, it was caught in the spam filter. I agree some of the orange site is accurate, but not all of it is true, but am not a fan of the forum which has been quite toxic at times. However I do feel that The orange site is totally one sided and I would certainly not agree with a lot of the conclusions he makes. His cult argument is rather contradicted by the fact that he claims 90 percent of people leave in the first year for example. The Frank Buchman story is unbalanced and a simple attempt to drag AA into an imagined association with the Nazis. He concentrates on unsavoury views expressed in a pre war interview which is more about the dangers of communism and mentions nothing of the awards that Buchman received from the French and German Governmments after the war. It is a pathetic attempt to tar AA with an association with the Nazis that most people can see through and devalues most of his arguments. Putting pictures of Hitler on the same page as Bill Wilson may fool a few impressionable brain damaged anti AA people, but actually makes people who are looking for answers about AA disregard criticism from better more rational writers. I can see why his work has never been published as anyone who is used to working with journalists or writers can see what rubbish much of it is. Here is a more reasonable account of Frank Buchman which you can contrast with the one sided, lets see how many pictures of Hitler I can get on the page written by the author of the Orange-Papers.I am no fan of aspects of AA or the 12 steps but certainly do not see the need to sink to the depths that Orange does, to discredit the 12 step world, in order to attract a few followers to his pathetic forum.

      People like myself and massive were attacked over there in the past and people on both sides were publishing personal details etc, which is unacceptable especially on a recovery based forum. Some posters would use the orange forum to attack people on my forum when I had it.
      I contacted Orange many times along with others yet he did not respond ever. the only time he ever responded is if i contributed to the running of his site, so his email did work, if he was getting money.

      It is relatively simple to admin a forum which does not have that many members with modern boards. The pro AA sites are generally well managed any people that use them feel they are in a safe environment,because idiots that go on these sites simply to cause trouble are kicked off. People behave in an odd way when they are behind a computer, and feel empowered to attack others. This is not a good situation on a recovery based site, and lead to me having to write countless emails and sort loads of crap out as well as making the decision to close a forum that had taken a lot of effort to build. My site was used as a place by some to attack other trolls etc from the orange site, despite me asking people to keep the site clean and try and build something useful. I hope those responsible feel that attacking the those 3 or 4 nobodies that were allowed to overrun the unmoderated orange forum was worth it. I don’t.

      I think that those of us who a criticising the 12 step approach have to be sensible in the image that is promoted. Taking part in huge rants on a public forum creates a poor image. It makes people who have walked away from AA look stupid. I feel we need to push a positive image for those who are thinking about leaving.

      It is actually fairly simple to block the type of trolls you get on forums and the traffic is not too high over there. I had a look recently and they are claiming 6000000 hits per month but that is meaningless on a forum built from multiple html sections. Each comment or avatar would count as a hit and even each bit of the header or other graphic. This site has only just started and has very few links to it but it got 50 000 hits in 5 days by the same stats counter which is also meaningless as I doubt there were more than 200 humans looking at it and the rest were bots and spammers. I looked up the most popular sites using the Whois rankings and the fix site comes out by far the highest. The orange site is actually rated as quite a small site by them. I’m sure the original site has helped a few, but the forum has problems which Orange acknowledged on Massives show. He also talked about the cost of running the site and ironically, if the site was managed with a bit of moderation, his costs would probably go down. He can run a site how he likes, I am only interested in his approach when it affects my site as it did in the past, and I do not think that was reasonable.

      The orange forum is proof that the web can be addictive and a lot was written about this in Damian Thompson’s book, the fix. I do think quite a few transfer addictions from a substance to a group like AA and then to something else, like the internet and become obsessive about that. They have not dealt with their compulsive side I think that if those who have left the 12 step world, were to write about their positive experiences in life, which many are on their own little blogs, then you will send out a much more powerful and rational message. I will hopefully write less about AA and 12 step in the future and will concentrate on the things that help people. I am writing stuff about 12 step at the moment to give the site a bit of background and to get it listed in a way it may be useful. It is not something I wish continue bashing in the future. In the end you either like AA or don’t so I’m going to state my position and move on.

      Anyway thanks again for your comments and I hope you come back. I don’t expect the site to be particularly fast moving comment wise, but would really like to build up a searchable resource over time in a smaller way to what Orange has achieved, although I doubt that I will write as much or be as dedicated as I have many other responsibilities, but I will try and concentrate on methods that help as I think the activism is best left to other people, who are more interested in it than me. I was very anti AA at one time, and I did get caught up with the mood of a blogging group, but now I feel it is better to show that there are one other ways. So many are put off recovery when they hear the steps and other’s do not progress in a positive way using the old methods. I am glad that the fix is producing a good balance of articles which show both sides and get some debate going. You can see the polarised views of those who shout loudest, but there are also some interesting things said by those who are quieter and just getting on with life, who are not obsessed with a certain point of view. It can be very dangerous to allow a mix of views on such an emotive subject in an unmoderated forum, where people attack each other. It is also very hard to turn a forum around,because you have already lost most readers interested in any serious form of discussion and then you kick out the hard liners and that leaves an empty forum. This post will be buried in this site before long but it has given me the opportunity to set a tone. I would rather have very few comments and a friendly site that people can read, than a busy site where the core values are undermined by those who have a different agenda. I think I will leave the Orange site to those who like it as I don’t want a load of trolls and troll baiters bothering me. Like AA,I won’t bother going back. Like AA, it has some good people there, but it also has it’s share of idiots. Perhaps they should try writing their own blogs,rather than ruining other peoples.

      They have a tendency to go over to a comment section on somewhere such as the fix site and spam it. This seems to be because they are used to commenting on a board which has problems, with trolling and they have become used to it. Many of the better writers, have left and moved on after becoming fed up with the troll baiters. They can behave as they wish on that forum, but I hope they don’t try and drag other more reasonable sites down, to the level of the Orange Papers. More and more people are looking into combining recovery groups and finding an approach that works for individuals. AA will have a part to play in this approach, simply because of it’s size. AA had a big head start on the other groups and is well established. Alternatives have a long way to go, to catch up in numbers, but if more people like social workers, become aware of other methods, then progress can be made. There needs to be places where these methods are debated in a reasonable manner, but when dysfunctional site provokes a few people to go and post aggressively all over the place, you can end up with alternative views, not being taken seriously.

      • SallyMae49418 October 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm · · Reply

        While I appreciate the fact that you have wanted to move on to a different place when it comes to the recovery world, I have to disagree with you on a few points. The Wikipedia site about Frank Buchman is whitewashed, not balanced. Orange’s documentation of Buchman’s associations with Hitler and Fascism are far more well documented on Orange’s site than the Wikipedia site and, IMO are quite relevant and far from an attempt to simply be unnecessarily inflammatory or improperly drag AA or Bill Wilson through some mud. While Fascism can be defined in a number of ways and there is much debate as to it’s definition as a political system, Webster’s dictionary certainly acknowledges that fascist can be defined as an attitude as well. Webster’s: “a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control”. A person is subjected to a reading of Chapter 5 of the Big Book as the preamble to every AA meeting. This is what they hear: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has not thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program.” Suggesting to someone that if they don’t give themselves over to the program they will fail is certainly a tendency toward exercising dictatorial control. The person listening has just been told AA is their only way out of addiction. This statement is followed up with the abusive suggestion that if the person sitting in the rooms can’t get sober using AA and it’s not because they are simply refusing to work the program then it’s probably because they are constitutionally incapable of honesty. Again, verbally battering someone with such a suggestion is surely yet another attempt at dictatorial control, specifically controlling someone’s mind to believe AA is, in fact, the only way to get sober. If a person in the rooms ever speaks out enough to actually say AA is not working for them, never once does an AA member suggest another program or way might work. They are brain-washed, indoctrinated members who are sure AA is the only way. AA occupies 95% of the addiction industry and professionals are flooded with their promotional literature to the point, just about the only thing anyone ever hears from all corners in the addiction industry is “Go to AA”. What I took away from the Orange Papers and the well documented association of Buchman with Hitler’s regime members and Fascism was that the fascist attitudes of such associations were something Frank Buchman appreciated. Indeed, they were built into his own religion and Buchman did say that it would be great if a man like Hitler could rule the world because God-control could come to the world in such a fashion. Bill Wilson did create AA by stealing the tenets Buchman built into the Oxford Group. It’s the fascist attitude that pervades AA and Orange shows us the history of how this came about. That core members of AA get this point is reflected in their own language. It doesn’t take long after coming to the rooms before one is subjected to ubiquitous proclamations such as, and similar to, “Yeah, the 12-steps are suggested. They’re suggested like it’s suggested you pull your ripcord when you jump from a plane.” The 12×12 also blatantly states that if one doesn’t follow the steps they surely sign their own death warrant. Again, another attempt at controlling someone’s mind to think there is only one way to recover and this way is AA and their 12-steps.

        As far as Orange’s citation of the number of people who leave AA being contradictory to the idea that it is a cult, I disagree. Cult’s go after a person’s weaknesses, first of all. So, some will simply leave because they had what it took not to allow their weaknesses to be played on or simply see through the sham. Other’s, where AA is concerned, will leave because the reading of the preamble from Chapter Five of the Big Book has convinced them there is something wrong with them and they can’t recover. (Yet another abusive feature of AA). Other’s just don’t see how AA is going to work for them for a number of reasons including the clear religiosity of the program. Further exploring the idea that 90% leaving AA within the first year means it’s not a cult, I’d like to give the example of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A well-known cult that I was involved in for just over a decade. It is frequently mentioned within Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations that only 1 out of 10 people who accept a Bible study from them will ever become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In other words, 90% of outsiders exposed to the inside of Jehovah’s Witnesses will leave. While there may be arguments over whether or not Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult, they certainly have cult-like characteristics. They eschew exposure to any world other than their own, disdaining higher education, for example, because they know the exposure it gives to other ideas lures people away from their religion. If a member starts to wake up and questions their doctrine, they are labeled apostate and shunned if they don’t come around with “counseling”. Their shunning is extreme to the point of not speaking at all to a former member which means someone who was born into the religion but leaves because they don’t agree with it anymore is left in a lurch of trying to negotiate the real world that they’ve been insulated from all their lives. They’ve lost the only support they knew in life: their family and the congregation. I belong to many support groups of former members and the stories of their struggles of adapting to the real world and learning to secure a new support system clearly betray an often incredibly difficult experience. Jehovah’s Witnesses do everything they can to mentally control a person ever leaving. Jehovah’s Witnesses ARE a cult and yet, 2/3 of the children born into it eventually leave, 20,000-30,000 members a year exit one way or another, their overall growth rate is generally 1-2% a year which mostly comes from within – people born into it – and 90% of outsiders introduced to it don’t stick around. Really, a lot of cults have a high turn over in membership which is why they have to continually recruit. In the case of AA, that means 12th step proselytizing.

        As far as the ideas of AA “bashing” and trolling and troll-baiters, etc. I regularly leave comments on sites such as The Fix and others with articles on AA or the 12-steps and, for the most part, the worst I have seen is people express their extreme disdain for AA and 12-step groups. With strong language, maybe, yes. BUT, AA DESERVES and has EARNED disdain expressed with strong language. Not everyone is a gifted writer or orator. They simply express themselves over an issue as best they can. As well as belonging to support groups for former Jehovah’s Witnesses, I also belong to support groups for people who have left AA and been damaged by it. The idea that someone who has been damaged enough in life to be unable to protect themselves from the abusive suggestions that are preambled at every AA meeting and reinforced in later Wilson writings such as the 12×12, should just be able to walk away from the AA cult, is just wrong to me. Neurobiological studies have shown that abuse literally damages the brain. AA’s own newsletters acknowledge that many who end up in the rooms have suffered the damage of abuse and learned to medicate their problems with alcohol for years. Sending a person in this condition to rooms that open with the abusive statements of the preamble that certainly tend toward dictatorial control of a person’s mind and emotions is wrong in-and-of-itself. Further exposing them to the core true-believers who are the ones who keep AA anchored is even more wrong because these are the ones for whom the dictatorial emotional and mental control affirmations of the preamble and 12×12 resonate and who have strong psychological motivations to control others. Others who have been told they have some fundamental flaw if AA doesn’t work for them. AA deserves strong words of denunciation on a number of fronts. They have a written policy of not exposing predators in the rooms. People have actually been discouraged from reporting their abusers in the rooms to authorities because it would out their abuser’s AA annonimity when they had to discuss where they had first come in contact with the person and circumstances under which the abuse was engendered. People who have reported anyway have been treated abusively in the rooms for doing so. These predators are also many of the very AA anchors in the rooms who, again, find words that resonate with their sick needs for control over others in the preamble and 12×12, The strong words of denunciation against AA, their predatory tactics, the fact that they are, inarguably, The Oxford Group cult religion re-incarnate, the ubiquitous stories of abuse people have endured in AA, etc. need to continue on every forum open to accepting the comments. I don’t consider this “bashing” anymore than I consider strong words against NAMBLA “bashing”. Some things really are deserving of disgust and exposure in the strongest words possible and AA is certainly one. Their own 12×12 states that they don’t care how sick, twisted or violent a person is, they are welcome in AA.

        Are there “good” people in AA? Good people who are still brainwashed and need to wake up, yes. Their support of AA merely helps AA continue to breed and affirm sick abusers and sociopaths to whom Bill Wilson’s fascist control tendencies resonate. Publishing what AA really is, an abusive cult religion, needs to continue in every manner possible until as many as possible wake up and leave. AA has a part to play in the addiction industry? With continued and relentless exposure as to what they really are and the failures they create, I should hope not much of one. As one of the 7 higher-court judges in this country who ruled that AA is a religion stated, the idea that AA is spiritual not religious merely serves to confuse the issue. Confusing the issue is AA’s specialty, as are the flim flam tactics of all cults. AA is inarguably a religion and sending people off to be indoctrinated into a religion that is also a cult that attempts dictatorial control over the minds of already sick and wounded people is so-far past any rational standard of professionalism it really SHOULD make one nauseated and angry to the point they refuse to shut up about it. Relentlessness has it’s place and relentlessness should not be mistaken for some misguided form of obsessiveness or so-called “addiction”. AA needs to be relegated to what it really is – A religion geared towards alcoholics that addresses sin, not addiction. If the “recovery” industry were sending people off to the Catholic Church to get better, there would be so much shouting it wouldn’t be funny and few would object to the shouting.

        As far as Orange’s never having been “published”, Orange has made clear he does not do what he does with the Orange Papers for profit. He’s not interesting in some publishing house picking up his work and printing it. He won’t even place ads on his site. Hosting a website, actually is a form of publishing, by the way.

        • This is an old post but I changed the bit about Facism the other day after reading Oranges and other accounts after being reminded about the Moral armament group by several articles on Glen Close. I do not agree with Oranges account at all which is far fetched and done in a way to link AA to the Nazis which I find distasteful and stupid. I will probably put something on the site about it even though this is not an anti AA site.

          I am no fan of the Oxford group or AA but I don’t believe they are cults either. Most people walk away after rejecting the programme or stay a while and use the fellowship. There are those who are crazy who talk about the Big Book as if it was the Bible (which I also reject as a load of rubbish!).

          Going around trolling comment sections on something like the fix achieves nothing other than giving the impression that people who have left AA are crazy and many anti AA people take over threads in an aggressive way and post multiple times about the same thing. They have no interest in discussion and are just there to be self righteous, the same as the crazy steppers who also do not represent many people in AA. A lot of this arguing stems from poor behaviour on the orange papers site which is of no interest to me any more and something I have always looked upon as inferior to sites such as stinkin thinking or more revealed.

          I agree the treatment industry should not send people purely to AA or call the 12 steps treatment and I hope this will change. Highlighting the fact that there are alternatives and that you can move on from AA very successfully is the the reason for this blog. I am not interested in the anti AA movement anymore, as I realised that many of the people involved are crazy, and are doing nothing to help those who are struggling with alcoholism. It is a shame that some really screwed up people do not get treatment that would really help them, and rely on lay people in a religious based group. On the other hand, many do enjoy the fellowship side of AA and this was useful to me in my early days of recovery. I found AA to be an odd environment and the people there tended to have taken on an AA personality but they were trying to support each-other and no other solution offers meetings all over the place that can do this. AA is certainly not an environment I wanted to remain in and so I moved on and wished those people well, after doing work out side AA and researching other options, which is something anyone can do. I did not expect to be spoon fed a solution and realised I had to take responsibility for my actions. I do not see the need to blame AA for everything that was not perfect in my early recovery nor deny people that want to go there a place to meet others looking for a solution for alcoholism.

          I do agree with Orange on a few things such as I do see AA as religious, but I really think he goes over the top on many issues such as the Nazi idea and even things such as Bill Wilson taking LSD. I do not see that much of what he writes is balanced, it is one sided and deliberately so, but anyone who writes one sided arguments will always attract those that believe everything they say and those that take a step back, compare it to other things that are written and reject it. I am one of those who has rejected many of his ideas.

          I had not looked at his site for some time as it genuinely does not interest me and only came across this stuff about Nazis when I was looking for things about the moral armament movement, after the Glen Close pieces in the press,mainly because a lot of people in my area raised money to pay for a theatre to commemorate members of the movement who had died at the hands of the Nazis in the second world war. Buchman certainly made some really poor decisions in his hunt for powerful people to convert and the comments he made about Hitler were very unwise in hindsight, but he felt communism was a bigger threat at the time, and would have also endangered many of the Oxford movement who were active in Germany if he had retracted that statement. He did do a lot of work after the war to help reconciliation and that was why he was given awards by France and Germany. I don’t believe Orange mentioned that in his “balanced ” account or maybe he thought it was something that his sling mud at AA followers would not appreciate.

          By the way, the only people that have caused any problems on this site are a few stupid middle aged men from the Orange forum with nothing better to do than run down AA and argue with anyone that does not agree with them which I suppose gives them a sense of power somehow, but they do not appear any more rational to the higher power brigade to me.

          I do actually have quite a few people reading the site especially the leaving AA stuff which hopefully helps some people. I always recommend “the sober truth book” by Lance Dodes which is a well balanced account of the formation of AA, the treatment industry and the lack of success and dangers to the vulnerable through working the steps. As far as I remember he does not mention the Nazis, call AA a cult and I felt it was vastly superior to anything Orange has written that I have seen. There is also Massives site Leaving AA who is making a film which will hopefully highlight dangers, ( she is reworking some of it to make it less one sided which will hopefully make it appeal to more viewers) and there is NA Daytona that highlights problems caused by AA members and meetings. There are certainly some bad people in all organisations and you certainly need to be careful if you are thinking of attending AA.

          • SallyMae49418 November 30, 2014 at 5:50 pm · ·

            I’ve been reviewing Orange’s pages on the Nazi thing and he seems to make a pretty good argument for the fact that the Oxford Group was a protofascist movement and that AA maintained the protofascist elements of the Oxford Group when it spun off. Also, I am still looking but I can’t find Frank Buchman’s name on any list of recipients of the awards Wikipedia claims he got so far.

          • Try using a search engine like google and type in Frank Buchman Croix de Chevalier! It is hard however to find many people that agree with Orange’s conspiracy theories. I’m closing this thread as it is old, and has nothing much to do with the rest of the site, which is aimed helping people recover.
            I was not fooled by the AA solution and I am not fooled by stupid conspiracy theories on an old site. I was impressed that Massive from Leaving AA was featured in the CBS 48 documentary about Karla Brada and AA, and showed what a rational approach to putting forth an argument about problems in AA can do. Massive was actually slagged off by members of the Orange papers site who feel their trolling and arguing are important – pathetic.

    • yes the orange papers totally helped me gain the clarity necessary to take a walk from 12-step craziness…

      • SallyMae49418 October 27, 2014 at 10:02 pm · · Reply

        Me too. Having been in a cult once before, when I hit 12-step rooms, as much as i tried to give the benefit of the doubt, something just wasn’t setting right in my gut about AA. It was when I finally went googling and digging to see if there was someone out there who could articulate what i couldn’t at the time that I found the Orange Papers and everything fell in place, crystal clear.

  5. AA is a toxic place. Intro in 91- and there still talking the same stuff…come on. These people are so wrapped up in themselves, its ridiculous. A good example to confirm this- go to a meeting and count each time the person sharing says “I” or “me”
    If you can count below 200 at the end of the meeting, it would be rare.
    Been w/o alcohol since 99 and committed to go back to aa then for “the drink problem” and thats it.
    Its now 2014 and the last 2 years it has become my life and I find myself the most unserene.
    Married in the program, divorced (talk about a controlling person, geez)
    My last 2 sponsors had decades of sobriety and so full of shit.
    Overall– these people are like parrots. Where I come from its called all bark no bite. And talk about gossip, you would think your still in grade school. Its gotten to a point people texting each other during the meetings, judging each share, and then rounding up the crowd after the meeting to go eat and drink coffee— enough already.
    These people have years of sobriety, but yet have no job, major sleeping issues- either all the time or none at all, rarely return phone calls, and shower and get all dressed up for the next meeting-
    You might think, find other meetings? First 3 years DC area, 2 years CA & FL and the last 17 Denver CO
    All the same shit…”whats your part” enough already.
    Solution, get the drink problem solved (usually 3-6 months) and get involved with positive things.
    The rooms are for sick people who like to hear themselves talk, and have an audience everyday for a buck. And if you let them, they will tell you all the answers to life…ha, with a cigarette in one hand and coffee in the other- with cookies and cake nearby.
    Move on- get a life!
    Real D.

  6. I certainly was not a fan of the AA world! This is quite an old post aimed at people who had caused me and others problems in the past and who I have no respect for and who make people who have moved on from AA look like ignorant,rude,idiots.

    There are many other AA critical posts here. You may well find the Lance Dodes book really interesting Good luck with everything in the future.

  7. If AA was a choice the idea that one can just leave wouldn’t be an issue. AA is a court ordered religion for many drunk drivers sent there. AND because of the USA courts, violent offenders and sex offenders are also court ordered to AA. LeavingAA addresses much of these concerns. AA neglects protecting its own members from these risks of crime. Where is AA’s responsibility? The AA organization allows for this confusion and division among members. There’s the cultish members, the religious members, the super loyal members, etc. And even if one manages to find a laid back, helpful meeting with kind people, this does not represent everyone’s experiences at EACH meeting available. So we must get rid of coerced AA meetings via courts and rehabs. Rehabs shouldn’t charge money for AA and 12 Step instruction because AA is free. Religion cannot be forced on anyone. AA should admit it is a religion. These problems are problems. AA is not a support group. Perhaps many find it a useful place to just go and dry out, but many do not. For many, it triggers too many issues with religion and sexism. With sexism, AA is the worst organization for women. Not enough attention is focused on the blatant sexism as much so as the religious parts are pointed at. To that point, recommending AA to everyone is prescribing something potentially harmful. Get to a real doctor, a real friend, dry out where no one is going to tell you God is the only thing that will save you now. I have not been on the OP blog/website. But I’ve heard about the comments here and there. These comments exist on even the most mild-mannered recovery blogs. It’s useless to point fingers or lump everyone together.

    Can’t we stick to the modern facts that AA is ineffective, religious, sexist, potentially harmful, full of uncontrolled criminal elements, no safety rules, no way of knowing the good meetings from the bad from a meeting book, and ultimately not a support group. A support group encourages open discussion- AA is close minded and only speaks of alcoholism from AA’s perspective. So on that last note, AA lies and teaches AA opinions of alcoholism like its fact. AA doesn’t teach facts, the sexist Big Book hurts women, and no science supports AA’s claims in the Big Book. How can anyone pass on AA without first asking, “Will this harm the person I’m sending to AA?” If the answer is AA may harm them, offend them, make them run to old coping through drinking, then yes, sending someone to AA is a problem. I’ve moved past the hurt of being in AA, but I’ll never forget the hurt, the ridicule, the belittling comments, the refusal to hear or validate my feelings, from being in AA. I might as well have asked my crazy effed up family I grew up in for their advice, because AA’s advice kept me feeling helpless, hopeless, defective, and apologetic.

    Let’s look at the psychology of AA: Depressing, belittling, and ego reducing. Someone with low self-esteem, like many women, and vulnerable young people, will be harmed by AA. No debate there. Just listen to a person’s feelings, their history, and work with them where they are at. Stop asking them to bend and mold into what AA thinks they should be. It doesn’t work that way.

    • Thanks for your post, I can see that some people are effected in a very negative way by AA, and this is why I always point out that people should try a variety of solutions and find the one that suits them. I do not agree with court ordering and that does lead to people who are unsuitable ending up in AA. I do not think the steps are treatment either.
      I do have a leaving AA section which is by far the most popular part of this site, which aims to put out the message that you can move on from AA despite the doom stories. I am no fan of AA, but I do not hate it, and feel that people who do like it should continue going. It is an illogical program, but for many, getting involved, helping others, doing some service, actually focusses them on recovery. AA has grown, partly bacause nobody else did much for years, and because of the treatment centers and in the USA the courts. Yes there are problems such as 13 stepping and exploitation, which could be dealt with better, but AA was safer than some of the environments I hung out in when I was drinking, although people are more on guard in a drinking environment tthan a church hall.
      People are screwed up in recovery, especially the early days and will make bad descisions and can end up getting hurt, but other get through it with the support of others. There are many people I would avoid in AA but some who have given me amazing help and who reached out to be me when I was down. I learnt a few raelities of drinking in those meetings, especially the rough ones, but did not get much from the steps, which I chose not to practice.
      While I understand that some have been hurt in AA, I feel the majority move away over time, once they have started living a new life. There are a few cult type groups but others are less step based. I feel that being really agressive towards AA often plays into the hands of the devout 12 steppers, especially when arguments are irrational or abusive. AA will fade when other people get together to offer viable alternatives, that are more attractive, which is why I am keen on sites such as which is aimed at women (but allows men) and is a growing support group, that does not endorse or critisise other methods and respects the differing views of its members. It is growing as a result, and ,many people are doing really well. I do respect some sites that are AA critical and link to them on the blogroll and other sites section, and I also have given positive reviews to books that critisise AA. What I am not in favour of is stupid trolling and name calling, or people who simply wish to go on AA sites and annoy people who are simply trying to recover in way that suits them. I feel that the Orange site is responsible for many problems as a lot of the trolling stemed from there on either side, and has been carried elsewhere, much to the annoyance of many. People with extreme views are often loud, when they are behind a computer and not always rational.
      If people want to learn about the reality of AA I recommend the sober truth by Lance Dodes or the Diseasing of America by Stanton Peele. There are other books by people such as Ken Ragge (who does not agree with pushing the Nazi idea) and of course many others.
      I tend to favour the Smart method of recovery and point out that it mentions trying a variety of methods and is not anti AA.
      I hope this makes sense as I typed it rather fast and am off to work!

  8. I will give you an example of just how strict and close minded OP members can be. I myself am against AA in many ways. I find that on some web sightes anti AA rehtoric clouds the underlying subject. It stops constructive conversations that would otherwise talk about alternatives to AA and instead it dives head first into a discussion primarily about why AA is so bad. Recently I posted on a news sight that I was tired of all the anti AA talk in the comments. I asked the commenters to try and stay on subject and try to be constructive. I told commenters that if they wanted to complaine about AA they were one click away from the Orange Papers. No less then an hour or so later I was completely blocked from accessing documents and web pages on the orange papers websight. If these are connected who knows most likely not but it is possible. I use some of their litiriture to help advocate against abusive unregulated teen treatment centers. Ow well. Will it be missed not really. The people who moderate have become so bogged down by pro AA trolls roaming the websight that they have become paranoid. That sucks and overall it makes for a chaotic and un constructive experience when trying to actually discuss progress.

  9. I think the op site has been removed for some reason, either by the host, or by one of the forum members being childish again. Its the start of the month so maybe the hosting has not been paid.

  10. Well the Orange Papers forum really did not reflect anti AA sentiment properly. People who are actually trying to see positive changes in the treatment industry were no longer posting on the opf. Any site needs to be moderated and it was reduced to pro AA trolls and control freaks.

    But the anti AA movement is strong and healthy in others areas and is making lots of progress!

    Hopefully the actual Orange Papers will be able to be viewed again at some point as Oranges work was an excellent resource.

  11. Sumati Talveer January 2, 2016 at 8:59 pm · · Reply

    My Dad sobered up through rehab/AA. He left after 2 years and died 12 years sober. It’s a testiomony that AA heals, and one does not have to become a slave to AA.

    I came thorugh the back door. ACOA. Then 2 years later I “graduated” and became heavilly involved in AA. I wasn’t even a problem drinker. I got sucked into the “Cult”. yet, 25 years later I’m glad I made the mistake. I frequented meetings for 15 years, read Orange Papers, stopped going for about 5-7. My wife has drinking problems. Real problems. Now I’m back. But in Al-Anon.

    I grew up without rules. It was GREAT. Problem is there are no rules of customs and courtesies in sibling family. They all drink. I don’t. I am shunned. Still, Al Anon helps me cope. Orange Papers doesn’t do that. Niether can Church.

    If you subscribe to Orange, you subscribe to his version of the Truth. I became really annoyed on FaceBook to find him a global warming advocate. If he’s wrong about those politics, which he is, how else is he hiding the truth? I’m a Conservative. He’s not. That speaks a lot. He’s a freewheeling Liberal with an agenda.

    • I’m glad you have found something that works for you. 12 step will not work for everyone and I always think it is worth exploring as many solutions as possible to find something that works. I think that there is some truth on the Orange site but a lot of it is totally one sided and ridiculous. It seems that he comes to a conclusion and then attempts to find an out of context quote to back it up in quite a lot of cases. It is clear that some people do get something from AA, but I personally found other solutions were what really helped me. I do think Global warming is a problem and that the planet is being destroyed by this generation which will cause serious problems for the future.

      • SallyMae49418 January 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm · · Reply

        I think it is unquestionable that there are people who can go through AA or even stay in it for life and come away or be unscathed. Unfortunately, the program can also inherently support the abuser/abusee dynamic; it’s built in to the thought processes of the program itself. Orange helped me see the program for what it fundamentally really was but I was already finding, in my gut, that something was just wrong in those rooms and the biggest give away right up front that something was really wrong was Chapter 3 of the Big Book.

        In that Chapter Wilson claims alcoholism is a disease that someone is in the grips of. He uses an analogy of a man with a compulsion for playing chicken with cars. That compulsion is so bad that he ends up with broken legs and as soon as he is out of the hospital is right back to playing chicken with cars and ends up with a broken back. Wilson claims this is how bad the compulsion to drink is and how bad the consequences can be and yet a person finds that no matter how bad the consequences, even if it is broken legs, so to speak, the alcoholic will go right back out, learn nothing from the “broken legs” and turn right around and get a “broken back”.

        Yet, in the same chapter, Wilson states that AA is not in the business of diagnosing anyone alcoholic and proposes that one diagnose themselves by going over to the local bar and trying a little controlled drinking; “try it more than once”. If Wilson really felt alcoholism was such a bad compulsion that it led to “fractured skulls, broken arms and broken legs” and “broken backs”; why on earth would Wilson suggest such a thing when it is clear he could not possibly know where the alcoholic reading this suggestion might be on the continuum of his own drunks? His attempt to diagnose himself this way, clearly could be the drunk on his spectrum that leads to his first “broken legs” and then to “broken skulls”, “broken arms” and a “broken back” if he does this not once; but “more than once”. It is interesting that when Wilson makes this suggestion, all he can see is that it “might be worth a case of the jitters” to do these diagnostics. That Wilson was not well enough to even see what he did here in print and that AA publishing houses have themselves not been well enough to even pick up on this is a clear indicator that those who go in and become true acolytes to Bill and his program have been indoctrinated into the thought processes of a very sick man. There’s no way Wilson could have done that in Chapter 3, if he really was well and operating with the intent to build a “recovery program” and help people. No. Bill was a seriously sick and perpetually angry man whose intent was to build a program that would have the world carrying his anger; an anger that made him hate people and want to harm them. The man was a sociopath, at best.

        The unconscious is a mechanism of the brain that has been nailed down by neurologists. Many studies have been conducted demonstrating just how it works. And, if nothing but unconsciously, sociopaths and victims of such will hear what Wilson did there and mix in a dangerous way in those rooms; as they will be led to continue in their patterns.

        That is just one example of Wilson’s many slips that gave away what he really was. At the time I was starting to get a gut feeling that something really was wrong with those rooms, I found Orange and I’m glad he was there. He made it clear to me where my gut feeling was coming from. I was the victim of sociopaths growing up and I certainly did not need to be there.

        I’m glad there are people who can go into those rooms, feel like they can find help and come out well enough but I certainly did not need to be there given my background. It is a neurological fact that abuse can break the brain in such a way that the brain simply cannot integrate a confluence of a emotions into the reasoning process properly and that in such situations, without the proper help, a person is practically bound, unless they somehow just get lucky, to keep finding abusers over and over again because they cannot tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy people; no signs of which are given from outward appearances alone. Undoing complex trauma is a process best left to professionals who really do understand the neurological mechanisms and not to rooms where people are indoctrinated into the thought processes of a very, very sick man. And, both sociopaths and their victims often end up with substance abuse problems for various reasons.

  12. Lotten Säfström January 11, 2016 at 11:36 am · · Reply

    I go to meetings and am approaching my first decade without the potent drug, alcohol which was my drug of choice. I used anything else when that drug had driven me to my knees, which it did in different stages from a terrible experience when I woke up in my own vomit at the age of fifteen. Then I continued using foremost alcohol heavily for 25 years until someone called the social services on me.
    This was the most loving thing anyone had ever done for me in my whole life. I was given the opportunity to go to rehab with my then 3-year-old daughter.
    From there I came to visit my first meetings.
    The first year I didn’t have any desire to stop using but the people in the meetings awoke something in me. A kind of realisation that it actually was possible to live without using alcohol. Something reached me in a way that no-one else had ever managed to before. I still don’t understand why that happened but from reading this site I see that many people who don’t go to meetings anymore found a similar experience at meetings in the beginning.
    I remember being inspired by this fact that people with longer clean time and shorter lived without the drug in their lives. That brought me back into the rooms. This was several months after my rehab was over. Now with an awoken desire to stop drinking and the occasional using of other drugs.
    I was very close to dying. My daughter didn’t live with me anymore because of my terrible state. If I hadn’t been inspired by the people going to these meetings I wouldn’t have found my way out of my active addiction in time.
    This is why I keep going to meetings. Sharing my experience, strength and hope. To inspire the attractiveness of living without mind-altering substances. Many need the inspiration that other addictive people can show them with the evidence of sobriety actually working well over a life-span.
    I am not saying that this is the only way to live without using but for me it was the only thing ever that inspired me. Not even my little daughter could awaken the desire to live without alcohol. No therapists, no sects, no church, not my family or parents. Why this happened is something I don’t analyze too much. It just works and feel my social abilities are enhanced by the twelve-step method.
    I have most of my friends outside AA. I put in 5-10 hours a week working the program – meetings, service, sponsorship, literature/step-work. For being able to pitch in at arresting a deadly disease it’s a small amount of time to do non-profit work. Plus it’s a priceless gift to be able to inspire others to find their way out of their addiction.
    No fees, no hierarchy, no pointing fingers (other than by people who are too full of themselves which the whole planet is inhabited with individuals doing by the way, including myself 😉 and no-one ever ordering me around. I like it. The freedom I experience is total.
    I don’t have to speak badly about other forms of recovery – I love sobriety and happily party with other sober people no matter why, where or who keeps them living without being mind-altered by substances such as alcohol.
    I notice that many have the need to lash out at twelve-step organisations. Why is that? What threat do these groups pose? If there is a dysfunctional group or member within a group that doesn’t prove the method per se as crazy…
    I can find it easier to relate to the “younger” twelve-step programs. The literature in these organisations are very well worked through and approved after innumerable people have revised the texts. It also makes me feel safer than reading books written by a single person or a few people coming up with ideas that seem bright at the moment but that these people maybe/often never even lived through. I cannot write or read myself to “truths”. I need to live and act what I claim. Only that tells me if I truly understand/know something.
    Well this on that. As long as I can see that my non-profit involvement in twelve-step groups can inspire someone else to not go back into the hell of addiction and to find and keep an attractive way of living sober I am going to keep coming back 🙂

  13. I am a heretic. 1990’s I got caught up in the New Age Recovery movement, to include Michael Jordan interview by Stuart Smalley. I was heavially involved in ACOA. After 2 years I segued into AA. But I didn’t have a drinking problem. I did some binge drinking as a teen and 1st year in military. Went to AA for about 10-12 years. Gave it up after reading Orange.

    Same time frame I met my soon to be wife. I tried to 12 Step her into ACOA. didn’t work. She develeloped a drinking problem, to include 2 felony DUIs. Now she’s been sober about 4 weeks. I’m not crediting AA for helping her to stop drinking. But it does take the focus off and doesn’t hurt to share stories with strangers.

    I am in Al-Anon. I am in military and had to sign a Memo stating I would go. I was forced into therapy because of wife’s drinking issues. I REFUSED to go to Al Anon for 1 year, I was still an Orange loyalist. Reluctantly I went. I was Dr. Phil. I had all the answers. But I didn’t have a higher power. Al-Anon returned my higher power back to me, which is a group setting conducting a meeting concerning alcohol addiction. I am well past 12 Steps. I don’t know if I can sponsor anyone. That’s not why I’m there.

    Now, I no longer listen to an believe my wife’s bullshit. I have tools I work with after listening to group members share about their strength, hope and experiences. Collectively I am 25 years sober.

    I broke free with Orange last year after seeing his Facebook posts sympathizing politically with Global Warmies, tree huggers, baby killers and the likes. If he’s a vocal scumbag Liberal, then perhaps his view on recovery is equally scumbaggery.

  14. After 15 years straight sobriety in AA I left 1 yr ago. Has it been easy? No. Did I make the right decision. YES! AA really started to wear me down 5 yrs ago yet out of fear that the “AA Relapse Fairy” would strike upon me w/out warning. Nonsense 🙂 I do not want to nor choose to drink. My track record w/ drinking is poor. I dont want to experiment again. This I did gain from AA.

    What I just dis was delete from my phone my last AA friend who I knew for 13 yrs. Very hard to do. I knew her family and she was supportive. Yet…the “quality & type” of support no longer works for me today. I have moved beyond the friendships where prying into your personal life and constantly inquiring about your “spiritual” life is just of no value to me anymore. I want equality in a friendship. I dont need a mother or a therapist. That friendship dynamic used to work but no longer works. I tried really. She is one of the 2 friends that did not immediately drop me when I “left”. Over the past yr its been hard to deprogram w her in my life. Its like she always has to overtly & covertly throw up in the conversation AA slogans and attempt of pry into “how can I live w out AA”, and how much she just enjoys vs needs (reah right…the biggest AA radical in this side of town), and how content she is in and out if AA. She spins the convo constantly around how my spiritual life is w out AA. Its very unsettling and I seem to end the time w her very irritated. Maybe “bait” for her to run to her clones and report I am not happy joyous and

    You see, I have bipolar disorder and AA attendance & “guidance” prevented me from getting a correct dx and treatment. The is no drunk that can top a bipolar rage. Most cant comprehend that. If there was a god, all the praying I did never removed it. Alcoholism a disease??? Lol..F’n NOT! Bipolar a disease..hell yes! I decided to quit drinking. No god, no sponsor or 12 steps. Just woke up and decided to not live that way anymore. Too bad I cant do the same w bipolar. It was not until I was 6yrs into program where I sought treatment for BP.

    I have a great therapist today and I am finding new friends. There are no perfect friends or therapist. However, today I can make healthier choices as to who I want to surround myself with. Sure, no “instant” friends out there like AA, yet I’ll be damned if I am sitting in convo and someone dares to say “ are u doing…what are you doing do u pray.” That person will no longer be my friend if I deflect that topic and he/she persists to bring it up. Also..its nice to have new people in my life that dont sit there and berate themselves or constantly inject the therapy-type talk throughout the convo. Wow!! Its been a process and I am still learning as I deprogram.

    Thanks for this blog and to Monica Richardson and Orange Papers.

    There is another way to life and peace 🙂

  15. Erin Keller March 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm · · Reply

    After reading factual documents about Bill Wilson, I find it unsettling that you want to defend his “credibility”. He was a power-hungry religious zealot who couldn’t keep it in his pants, and alcohol users today would be in far better shape had he not existed at all.

    • I would hardly call this site pro AA, as there are over 200 posts highlighting alternatives such as the Sinclair Method which I am clear about being more effective. I also point people towards the excellent as well as books by Stanton Peele which give an accurate assesment of AA and the steps. They do not have to resort to the smears about Hitler etc that the more crazy anti AA sites such as the Orange Site (which apparently is no more) go on about.

      I always give AA some credit as it gave me a sober community to attend in my early days and when I felt stronger I simply moved on. The religious side was not for me and I found the idea of a higher power unhelpful. However several million people do choose to attend AA and seem to find it beneficial and so I say good luck to them. I do have an issue with the rehabs that take people’s money and simply serve up AA as a treatment but Bill Wilson can hardly be blamed for that. This is an out of date post that I wrote when I started the blog as I did not want the cranks from the orange papers forum or elseswhere clogging every thread up with their moronic arguing. When they can’t find something about AA to attack they generally turn on eachother and even hacked and published Massive’s film the 13th step on that site while carrying out personal attacks on people such as Stanton Peele. They really are the pathetic side of the recovery world and are an example of a close minded group talking in an “echo chamber” on a form of social media. What makes it really sad is that while most of them give the impression of being immature “keyboard warriors” most of them are middle aged losers. I doubt many members of AA would behave in this fashion.

      It is an old post so perhaps I should update it sometime and perhaps do a podcast but to be honest I’m really not interested in the Anti AA movement and don’t follow them. The Stinkin Thinkin site was fast moving with hundreds of comments a day and I am still in contact with some of the people from that site. It was a great online comunity to be part of until a couple of sad idiots from the Orange Papers forum created a lot of bad feeling. I have realised from my own experiences that running any kind of recovery forum is really hard and that if you encourage conflict and discussion about the pros and cons of a method such as AA then a site will soon descend into personal attacks. This is mainly down to this type of behaviour becomeing the norm on the orange papers forum which was unmoderated by the dysfunctional idiot that run it and resulted with petty rivalries springing up on any recovery forum which would allow these people to take part. The screeching trolling achieves nothing except making those who have moved on from AA look stupid. it would be good to have a fast moving site that is critical of the old fashioned methods, with humour and intelligent commenting but that is probably impossible at the moment as there are too many people simply interested in attacking others.

  16. Thank you for posting. I promised myself after 7 years of not sharing, that I would. Forgive me if it is long. It is healing for me as well. I believe that people, today, are suffering unnecessarily stuck in their coocoon like meetings, hearing the same old stories (although, I really hope it’s changed, but a new 1yr friend has confirm not). After 17 years, Kurtz’s book, “Not God” gave me a historical perspective; my friend’s suicide – partially from AA isolation and bullying gave me a new spiritual awakening; Penn and Teller stating how medicine would never give a 2017 cancer patient chemo from the 1930’s, really blew away my disease concept; and, an atheist pointing to the statement that “Our thinking WILL change if we rightly relate ourselves to God” were the 4 main reasons I walked out and away from a community I worked so hard (so hard) to be part of for so many (many) years. When I did get past the boogeyman theory of not becoming a statistic (and you can, too, whoever reads this) because I “stopped going to meetings,” I chose not to venture to anti-12 or non-12 like gatherings and boards because everyone was so mean and angry. In 2010, there weren’t many leaving AA yet and setting up new groups. And, I loved what the atheist pointed out. Like those men in WWii foxholes, I didn’t need groups to support me anymore. My thinking did change. Today, I make living amends to all those people I harmed in and out of the meetings by not going to those meetings. I am one less passing it on. I learned to care for my self and stopped my negative thinking. I am responsible for my energy I put forth in the world — not AA’s. I stopped stepping back in the pit to support my friend who didn’t want to change. I accepted that settling for some may be like winning the lottery. I tried to help others get out of AA, but they didn’t want to. And no one could help me. You leave when you are ready (but don’t ignore the signs and stay longer…SO painful). So I had to leave them all. I wrote anonymous letters to other folks who left their cults and churches and thanked them for sharing. I also shared my story. And one day I noticed that I no longer heard “AA-speak” in that particular coffee shop, or Denny’s or trail walk. Finally, I knew my deprogramming was over. I live today proud of not drinking for 25 years and proud of belonging in the real world. I do not miss the lifestyle (drinking or AA). I will not go back to it because I know what my drinking did to me –both in my drunkeness and in my sobriety in AA. My thinking did change and that is where the peace and freedom stands. That is my hope that for everyone.

    • Thanks for commenting and I am gald you have moved on from AA and found you independence. Time is certainly a great healer and after a while it is possible to move on from the 12 step world and not be worried about it. I found many of the ideas and AA phrases were still quite intrusive in my thoughts when I first left. this faded with time and I got things in perspective, and did not feel the need to lash out at AA in the way that happens on the Anti AA forums. Those people in the Anti AA world are probably still being affected by AA, because they spend all there time thinking about it and attacking it. They cannot let it go and move on. There sense of drama in a small group has totally given them a false perspective. This oftens happens on social media and can be quite destructive. It is a great feeling when you are not worried by “AA speak” in a coffee shop etc and can just get on with life without getting overtaken by emotion, which seems to happen to many of the people on recovery comment boards. Best wishes for the future.

  17. Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it. It is so healing to write about this. I am in a good space. The positive experience that I received from AA the most – was the ability to sit down next to any stranger, anywhere, and relax and start a conversation. For that, I am grateful. I was so shy and withdrawn when I drank. The meetings forced me to get out of my isolated rut, while putting me in a different form of group isolation. But that is not just seen in AA. It seems fanatical groups do this and people in power and fear create fanaticism. From churches, to politics, etc. So I had a connection with real world people once I got out. I was not unique. That resolved some of my lonliness when I first left. But I also saw that in those later years in AA I was moving away from the usual drunks and gravitating to real world ppl who came to their first mtg. They didn’t know the AA lingo or weren’t yet in the throws of the self-fulfilling, prophetic fear. But they were scared and needing something. A spark. It taught me to be alert but calm with strangers. I am so grateful for that gift. I hope I helped, although I, too, was peddling the arrogant agenda. But I believe I help humans today on the outside by not having an agenda and just listening. I am also glad Smart Recovery has a timeline on their meeting attendance (something like, we expect you to be integrated back in society by 18 months. We don’t want you hanging around here as a “lifer.”) The freedom that you can have a problem, find a way out, leave, and help humanity seems so much healthier than being told incessantly that you must go to these mtgs for the rest of your life or you will die.

  18. Billy Boy Wilson October 14, 2018 at 10:23 pm · · Reply

    I’ve come full circle. Originally I went into program through proverbial “back door”. ACOA. 2 years later I subscribed to AA. I wasn’t and alki. I had binge drank in the past. Gave it up. Was very cautious. Yet, I went to a closed meeting and felt the earth shift as I said “name/alcoholic”. Went to AA for 12-15 years. Then got angry. Wife drank alcoholically. Hid it in the home. I thought I had enough “tools” to leave the program.

    My marriage didn’t improve. My career jeopardized from lack of professionalism. I struggled. Lost my “higher power”. Because I was in the military, I was ORDERED to go to Al-Anon. I blew it off over a year. Curious, I went. I seemed to have found my lost “higher power”. A sense of loneliness began to fade. Not a lot, just enough.

    Today, after 26 years of sobriety, I support my wife who still struggles. I go to Al-Anon and open AA. I am one of the few. Very few in today’s population. I feel that it is a privilege to have found a spiritual concept that I can subscribe to.

    I think Terry, aka Orange is a psycho madman. Some points may be valid. Many not. He’s entitled to his own opinions, that is if they were originally his own. Probably not. One can heed his advise and if the show fits, wear it. If not. 12 step program is an opportunity to steer clear of problems, IMO.

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