by Chaz Bufe, author Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?
A friend mentioned the Orange Papers site to me tonight. I’d forgotten about it, as it’s been around forever, and I’m thoroughly sick of writing about AA–and reading about it, too, for that matter. (Twelve years ago, some kids torched my guest house, which was home to all of my research materials on AA and substance abuse treatment; it was almost a relief.)
Back to Orange Papers….. The site contains an amazing amount of well researched, well argued material. I’m familiar with almost all of the areas covered,, and everything I’ve seen on the site is accurate. (There’s also a lot of information on it of which I was unaware.)
It’s all there (topics in no particular order here):
- AA’s actual (in)effectiveness as opposed to its claimed effectiveness
- AA’s “spirituality” as very thinly disguised religiosity
- AA’s origin as part of a wacko evangelical group
- AA’s principles as codification of that evangelical group’s principles
- The pro-Nazi statements and actions of that evangelical group’s head and other prominent members
- The intellectual dishonesty of the AA program
- AA’s pronounced anti-intellectualism
- AA’s other cult-like aspects
- Cults that have grown out of AA
- And some good news: most people with alcohol problems overcome them on their own without any contact with AA; there’s some evidence that people exposed to AA do worse than those never exposed to it–in other words, AA is not necessary to overcoming alcohol problems, and could well be harmful
Don’t let the archaic appearance of the Orange Papers site put you off. Its information is accurate, amazingly thorough, and up to date.
Years ago, I tried to talk the site’s author into writing a book on AA. Unfortunately, he declined. I still wish he’d do it.
For now, instead of a book, we have Orange Papers. If you’re at all interested in AA, it’s the best place on the ‘net for information.