Bill W. and Carl JungPosted: March 16, 2011
The relationship between Carl Jung and Bill Wilson, founder of AA, was pivotal in
founding the basic principle of spirituality as a cure for alcoholism.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker, and the founder of analytical psychology. Jung is often considered the first modern psychiatrist to state that the human psyche is “by nature religious” and to explore it in depth.Jung recommended spirituality as a cure for alcoholism and he is considered to have had an indirect role in establishing Alcoholics Anonymous.Jung once treated an American patient Rowland Hazard, suffering from chronic alcoholism.
After working with the patient for some time and achieving no significant progress, Jung told the man that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed.
Rowland took Jung’s advice seriously and set about seeking a personal spiritual experience. He returned home to the United States and joined a First-Century Christianevangelical movement known as the Oxford Group. He also told other alcoholics what Jung had told him about the importance of a spiritual experience.
One of the alcoholics he brought into the Oxford Group was Ebby Thacher, a long-time friend and drinking buddy of Bill Wilson, later co-founder of AA. Thacher told Wilson about the Oxford Group, and through them Wilson became aware of Hazard’s experience with Jung. The influence of Jung thus indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, the original twelve-step program, and from there into the whole twelve-step recovery movement, although AA as a whole is not Jungian and Jung had no role in the formation of that approach or the twelve steps.
Here is a link to the letters:
Spirituality to me can be found anywhere. To me the world is nothing, but the skin of the spirit. Like a cover.
So if we stop looking for God or explaining it, we find it. It just is…
I love the letters that Bill and Jung wrote to each other.
It is amazing how AA began. Just meant to be…
In the Beginning there was Rhythm