Many of you probably know already that Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was an avid supporter of the use of LSD to treat alcoholism. I found this biographical article online (in Modern Drunkard
magazine, "Standing Up For Your Right to Get Falling Down Drunk Since 1996", which I have never heard of before now but which seems quite relevant itself) which is brief, catchy and fascinating. It reminds me of several interesting and widely applicable points, not the least of which is that the popularity and longevity of any
movement, whether a cult, a philosophy, or a therapeutic technique, ultimately depends as much on the charisma of the initial promoters as it does on any qualities of the core idea. Just think what the world of addiction treatment would be like today if Bill Wilson hadn't been such a character!
This is my favorite part of the article:
One of his therapeutic journeys lead him to Trabuco College in California, and the friendship of the college’s founder, Aldous Huxley. The author of Brave New World and The Doors of Perception introduced Wilson to LSD-25. The drug rocked Wilson’s world. He thought of it as something of a miracle substance and continued taking it well into the ‘60s. As he approached his 70th birthday, he developed a plan to have LSD distributed at all AA meetings nationwide. The plan was eventually quashed by more rational voices, and a few years later the Federal government made the point moot by making the drug illegal. (That Wilson’s plan was shot down is probably fortunate. LSD is a beautiful thing, but nothing sounds more horrifying to me than a roomful of chain-smoking, frightened, needy drunks tripping their heads off in the basement of the local Y.)