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Bill Wilson, AA Pioneer and controversy

Old 01-03-2020, 02:36 PM
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The more I think about this, the more I'm confused. I retract my request for the deletion of my posts, because I don't see how my posts contravene this Secular AA forum's rules. If I'm wrong, I accept their deletion. I feel rather saddened too, after I shared a special personal experience, which means a lot to me. And I did experience a type of mental shift and still feel a tangible peace, that didn't exist previously.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
The more I think about this, the more I'm confused. I retract my request for the deletion of my posts, because I don't see how my posts contravene this Secular AA forum's rules. If I'm wrong, I accept their deletion. I feel rather saddened too, after I shared a special personal experience, which means a lot to me. And I did experience a type of mental shift and still feel a tangible peace, that didn't exist previously.
Not sure exactly what you are asking here Tatsy - no posts of anyone's were deleted nor am I aware of any request to do so by any of the admins. As far as I can tell every post that was ever made in this thread still exists in it's original form.
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Old 01-03-2020, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
.
This Sub-Forum originally was broken out and established as one of a few tiny sections of SR free from the invasive and pervasive affects of things overtly, or bordering on, Religious or Spiritual.

I'll leave it to others to search for whatever definition of 'Secular' suits them.

If there's some question about this, error on the side of Forum respect, and post such material elsewhere. There's plenty of areas on SR to do so. On this aspect, we all bring our experience to the Table. I moderate on several other Pages, including an Addiction Page. Inevitably, I bring that experience and common sense to bear here. I'm sure a Mod will clarify any misunderstandings here.

I'm generally in favor of Free Range Threads that meander into interesting, inclusive areas. I do not see this is currently the case re: the OP Topic here. The current drift of this Thread is not inclusive, IMO. Feel free to start a new Thread in another, appropriate Sub-Forum.
I'm an atheist and I have had these experiences. There doesn't seem to be a term that secular people can use to describe them. I believe they are the same experiences believers have so I'm fine with "spiritual". I've described them to religious people and they are convinced it was God and I just haven't accepted that yet. That was why I shared the Sam Harris video.
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Old 01-03-2020, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
I feel rather saddened too, after I shared a special personal experience, which means a lot to me. And I did experience a type of mental shift and still feel a tangible peace, that didn't exist previously.
I wouldn't take it too hard Tatsy. I think it's quite hard to scrub all references to religion and spirituality from a secular forum, let alone one with 12 steps in its title. Our experiences are, after all, our own. They are facts. Others might question the meaning or even the reality of that experience but that's their right. Nothing IMO can invalidate the experience itself.

I was a bit worried about the subject of the thread when I started it because of the nature of the subject. It's a VERY controversial topic. It involves drugs and an AA founder. The current research on LSD was what I wanted to highlight. Perhaps one day LSD will be shown to have some value in fighting alcoholism (as counter intuitive as that may seem).

Until then, I know our shared experiences do.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:07 PM
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I did read the entire thread and hesitated to continue with the curve it took because I'm not familiar with the culture in here, but felt moved to affirm Tatsy' s experience, whatever one wants to call it.

Additionally, I believe (but am certainly willing to be corrected) that the point of psychedelic therapy is to give the patient an experience akin to a 'spiritual awakening,' whatever one calls it. In other words, I think the point of this type of therapy is to chemically induce the type of experience three or four others described here and I recently experienced myself without the stuff?

And my confusion about Tatsy' s apology is that I see references to spirituality and various faith traditions throughout this subforum. So I didn't understand why anyone would be offended by her talking about an experience that happened to happen at mass. I wondered "Is that a 'valid' concern?"

I'm happy to leave that last thought right where it is. It's not important to me right now to understand this. I really was just feeling kind of... I dunno, protective of my friend and her self- consciousness about potentially offending someone by telling such a beautiful story.

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Old 01-03-2020, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
I did read the entire thread and hesitated to continue with the curve it took because I'm not familiar with the culture in here, but felt moved to affirm Tatsy' s experience, whatever one wants to call it.

Additionally, I believe (but am certainly willing to be corrected) that the point of psychedelic therapy is to give the patient an experience akin to a 'spiritual awakening,' whatever one calls it. In other words, I think the point of this type of therapy is to chemically induce the type of experience three or four others described here and I recently experienced myself without the stuff?

And my confusion about Tatsy' s apology is that I see references to spirituality and various faith traditions throughout this subforum. So I didn't understand why anyone would be offended by her talking about an experience that happened to happen at mass. I wondered "Is that a 'valid' concern?"

I'm happy to leave that last thought right where it is. It's not important to me right now to understand this. I really was just feeling kind of... I dunno, protective of my friend and her self- consciousness about potentially offending someone by telling such a beautiful story.

There's was a real sense that there exists something within each sentient being that can't be degraded or enhanced. All of the ways we see ourselves and each other were just noise. Imagine what that could do for someone burdened with thoughts of self-hatred. I'm not sure what drugs would do that.
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:12 AM
  # 67 (permalink)  
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Sobriety is mental.

' You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you WILL gain strength.' - Marcus Aurelius

Sobriety is mental.

Referring to my previous response on this post, about my time in hospital. Eight weeks after I had been admitted and three weeks after I'd regainned consciousness my son was the first to tell me I'd spent the first five weeks of my time there in a medically induced coma. Until then I barely knew anyhthing of what had happened to me, in the UK the NHS has a poor record of communicating at any level with those they treat.

On returning to my room, after he'd left I 'saw' or experienced a sense of my own mortality which was quite profound causing me to think,
' A man who has seen his own mortality is no longer a slave and is beyond externals.'

Which adds great weight to the credibility and veracity of the statement that sobriety is mental.
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Old 01-04-2020, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Redmayne View Post
' You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you WILL gain strength.' - Marcus Aurelius

Sobriety is mental.

Referring to my previous response on this post, about my time in hospital. Eight weeks after I had been admitted and three weeks after I'd regainned consciousness my son was the first to tell me I'd spent the first five weeks of my time there in a medically induced coma. Until then I barely knew anyhthing of what had happened to me, in the UK the NHS has a poor record of communicating at any level with those they treat.

On returning to my room, after he'd left I 'saw' or experienced a sense of my own mortality which was quite profound causing me to think,
' A man who has seen his own mortality is no longer a slave and is beyond externals.'

Which adds great weight to the credibility and veracity of the statement that sobriety is mental.

I agree. Once the crutch of alcohol has been removed one has to learn to live life on life terms.

Even Bill Wilson had difficulties.

My experience was once I stopped the immediate problems associated with alcoholic drinking went away.

Which is great. I could begin to pick up the pieces of my life.

But when a person such as myself spent many years using alcohol as a means of coping with stress, unpleasant feelings or situations... I needed find another avenue.

I needed to learn to live outside a scared comfort zone.

Bill W. wrote the 12 steps but they weren't enough. He continued searching for ways to feel more comfortable in his own skin.

I'm sure he realized chasing women and chain smoking were unhealthy substitutes for drinking.

But he stayed sober and was able to put together a productive life.
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Old 01-04-2020, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ken33xx View Post

But when a person such as myself spent their entire adult life using alcohol as a means of coping with stress, unpleasant feelings or situations... I needed find another avenue.

I needed to live outside a scared comfort zone.

Bill W. wrote the 12 steps but they weren't enough. He continued searching for ways to feel more comfortable in his own skin.

I'm sure he realized chasing women and chain smoking were unhealthy substitutes for drinking.

But he stayed sober and was able to put together a productive life.
This is where I am now. I need to find a way to live outside a scared comfort zone (drinking) and realise there's no solution to that aim, by substituting one addiction for another.

After my recounted experience, it would be extremely tempting to pursue religiosity, but I realise that the experience was a one-off. It isn't the path (albeit comforting) I must walk on . The path is to dig deep within and find my own source of internal comfort, or is that just another form of serenity?
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Old 01-04-2020, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
This is where I am now. I need to find a way to live outside a scared comfort zone (drinking) and realise there's no solution to that aim, by substituting one addiction for another.

After my recounted experience, it would be extremely tempting to pursue religiosity, but I realise that the experience was a one-off. It isn't the path (albeit comforting) I must walk on . The path is to dig deep within and find my own source of internal comfort, or is that just another form of serenity?
It's not uncommon for people to substitute an alcohol addiction with another unhealthy addiction. Food being one of the more common. A good start is recognizing this.

I chased after money although I'm not sure how unhealthy this was given my financial situation when I got sober.

But I certainly do need to watch what I eat and to exercise regularly. At the same time I also need to be good to myself. To find a healthy balance while living life. Some might call this common sense, others spiritual and others something else.

It's whatever works for you. The labeling isn't important.
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Old 01-04-2020, 08:20 PM
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“ After my recounted experience, it would be extremely tempting to pursue religiosity, but I realise that the experience was a one-off. It isn't the path (albeit comforting) I must walk on . The path is to dig deep within and find my own source of internal comfort, or is that just another form of serenity?”

don’t know about the serenity bit, but i wonder why you would mot explore more about the experience you DID have; it sounds like the “one-off” is leading you to box it up instead of opening it into the “rest of life”.
doesn’t it tell you something about what is possible, what might be “more”, without having to be put into a “religiosity” category?
something wonderful happened to you.
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:45 PM
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So far as Bills experience in the hospital and whether or not it was genuine.

I think the results speak for themselves.

Genuine conversion experiences have been documented aplenty and the results are positive for the afflicted.

Belladonna doesn't really produce any sort of a high, I think this is a myth that has gathered momentum especially in the anti AA circles.

Belladonna contains two chemicals used for medicinal purposes.

The first chemical is scopolamine, which is used primarily for reducing body discharges. It is also helpful in reducing stomach acid, which can help with both nausea and acid reflux.

Scopolamine is also used for controlling the heart rate and relaxing muscles.

The second compound extracted from belladonna is atropine. Similar to scopolamine, atropine can be used to help reduce bodily discharge, but it is not as effective as scopolamine when used as a muscle relaxant and in heart rate control.

Also, atropine can be used to dilate the eyes. In some cases, atropine works as an antidote to insect poison and chemical warfare agents.

Once extracted, one or both chemicals are combined with other medications to help treat some diseases and conditions.

Some of the treatments target:
  • motion sickness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • stomach ulcers
  • excessive nighttime urination
so looking at what the "Belladonna Treatment" would actually have offered in the treatment of alcoholic withdrawal, no doubt the heart rate control and muscle relaxant properties were the two main things, similar to how they dose us with Valium these days for the same reason.
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:18 AM
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I also hesitate to jump in here but frankly don't see why the idea that psychedelics can induce spiritual experiences needs to be controversial. Somehow I already knew it was a factor in the creation of AA before ever coming to this forum and imo this should simply be common knowledge. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's a fact.

On a personal note I've had many spiritual experiences in my lifetime, none of them have been religious. In that context they are "secular" but I don't believe the distinction matters unless there's an attempt to invalidate.. which I didn't see from Tatsy either. Just my two cents on that.

Tatsy, this is really random but I know you mentioned in another thread reading something about or from a tarot card.. I was into tarot for a while. My ex hated it, thought it was sacrilegious and complete bs. But one day he said ok you draw a card, then I'll shuffle and draw a card, and if it's the same one facing the same way (out of a deck of 78) I'll believe you. And then it happened. Was that a mere coincidence? It's possible but I think not.

Your experience sounds beautiful and I hope you'll explore it further if you feel compelled to do so.
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Old 01-05-2020, 01:19 AM
  # 74 (permalink)  
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As a 'rule of thumb'...

For myself, as a 'rule of thumb' I tend to work on the basis that,' Anything that contradicts logic and experience should be abandoned,' the Dalai Lama.

Then again I also like this,

'Religion is for those afraid of going to hell,

Spirituality is for those who've already been there,' - Vine Delria - Sioux.

And I bet I'm not the only one on here who can not only say that but who has a season ticket to do that ...
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Derringer View Post
So far as Bills experience in the hospital and whether or not it was genuine.

I think the results speak for themselves.

Genuine conversion experiences have been documented aplenty and the results are positive for the afflicted.

Belladonna doesn't really produce any sort of a high, I think this is a myth that has gathered momentum especially in the anti AA circles.

Belladonna contains two chemicals used for medicinal purposes.

The first chemical is scopolamine, which is used primarily for reducing body discharges. It is also helpful in reducing stomach acid, which can help with both nausea and acid reflux.

Scopolamine is also used for controlling the heart rate and relaxing muscles.

The second compound extracted from belladonna is atropine. Similar to scopolamine, atropine can be used to help reduce bodily discharge, but it is not as effective as scopolamine when used as a muscle relaxant and in heart rate control.

Also, atropine can be used to dilate the eyes. In some cases, atropine works as an antidote to insect poison and chemical warfare agents.

Once extracted, one or both chemicals are combined with other medications to help treat some diseases and conditions.

Some of the treatments target:
  • motion sickness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • stomach ulcers
  • excessive nighttime urination
so looking at what the "Belladonna Treatment" would actually have offered in the treatment of alcoholic withdrawal, no doubt the heart rate control and muscle relaxant properties were the two main things, similar to how they dose us with Valium these days for the same reason.

Wilson was under the influence of a drug which is known to produce unpleasant side effects including hallucinations. The drug was administered under the care of a doctor and negative side effects likely diminished.

Now... what happened to Wilson was a good thing.

He got sober and went on to start AA.

Nevertheless Wilson was under the influence of a drug known to induce hallucinations. To suggest his experience could not have been related is simply intellectually dishonest.
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:10 AM
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This is an interesting article from the NYT regarding Towns Hospital, where BillW underwent the belladonna treatment:

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/health/20drunk.html

Perhaps because of the positive effect of his spiritual experience, he later sought to replicate it with LSD, with a view to helping himself and other people. If you read the links I posted at the beginning of the thread, this line of research is still being pursued, so maybe BillW was possibly onto an alternative 'something' for alcohol addiction?
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Old 01-05-2020, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
This is an interesting article from the NYT regarding Towns Hospital, where BillW underwent the belladonna treatment:

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/health/20drunk.html

Perhaps because of the positive effect of his spiritual experience, he later sought to replicate it with LSD, with a view to helping himself and other people. If you read the links I posted at the beginning of the thread, this line of research is still being pursued, so maybe BillW was possibly onto an alternative 'something' for alcohol addiction?

I think that's exactly what he was attempting to do.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:47 AM
  # 78 (permalink)  
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Being comfortable in my own skin

For whatever the rights or wrongs raised on this post and the various, eclectic responses. I, for one in my sobriety, like being comfortable in my own skin.

Which in practical terms includes the fact that I now live a simple frugal life out of choice rather than when, in my 'drinking days' having to... a feeling any will have known.
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Old 03-07-2020, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken33xx View Post
Wilson was under the influence of a drug which is known to produce unpleasant side effects including hallucinations. The drug was administered under the care of a doctor and negative side effects likely diminished.

Now... what happened to Wilson was a good thing.

He got sober and went on to start AA.

Nevertheless Wilson was under the influence of a drug known to induce hallucinations. To suggest his experience could not have been related is simply intellectually dishonest.
Considering experiences such as Bill's were well known phenomena before Bill had his, and the fact that thousands of alcoholics have since been able to duplicate Bill's results without halucinogenic drugs, would, on the balance of probabilities, indicate that his experience was not drug induced, or that the drug was not a requisite ingredient.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Gottalife View Post
Considering experiences such as Bill's were well known phenomena before Bill had his, and the fact that thousands of alcoholics have since been able to duplicate Bill's results without halucinogenic drugs, would, on the balance of probabilities, indicate that his experience was not drug induced, or that the drug was not a requisite ingredient.

We both experienced a change. You while working through the 12 steps and myself... walking home after my first meeting. I felt at peace and the desire to drink lifted.

I believe it was God who removed the obsession and others might suggest Rod Serling - Twilight Zone knows best.

But what I do know is I was stone cold sober when this transformation occurred.

Bill W. on the other hand was in a hospital bed and under the influence of a drug known to induce hallucinations. This is a fact which can't be ignored.

Now, did the drug kick-start Wilson's experience? Nobody knows... but it certainly is possible.
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