| print this
AND PHILOSOPHY IN THE U.S.A., Vol. 2: 447-462, 1987
Anonymous: A Phenomenon in American
by Ernest Kurtz
must a scholar defend his choice of topic, and it is
of course impolite to begin with an apologia, but a decade's
experience has taught that approaching Alcoholics Anonymous
historically significant phenomenon requires such an introduction.
In the context of this conference, if my topic needs defense,
would point less to the over one million now living human
who must attest that A.A.'s fellowship and program have
them to find and to live the meaning of their humanity -
numbers, after all, mean little - than to two other realities
it seems irresponsible to ignore.1
despite wide ranging developments both philosophical
and theological, we still live in the shadow of Bonnhoeffer's
for a "religionless Christianity." Although the
theologians over the last forty years have failed to concretize
that reality, the same forty years have witnessed A.A.'s
be "spiritual rather than religious" find resonance
both in the
minds of a surprisingly large smattering of intellectuals
and - even more surprisingly - in the experience of an ever
spectrum of ordinary People.2
Second, for whatever reasons of
health-care economics or valid re-evaluation of the role
professional expertise in treating chronic illness, the
spread of "self-help mutual aid groups" that enable
and recovery of human dignity is too obvious - and too obviously
significant - to ignore. Such groups virtually all use Alcoholics
Anonymous as model, and most of them adopt or adapt the
Steps" that are the core of A.A.'s program as their
is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their
experience, strength and hope with each other that they
may solve their common
problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting
through our own
contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination,
organization or institution; does not wish to engage in
neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose
is to stay sober
and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.4
"Preamble," the reading of which begins most meetings
Anonymous, well summarizes the thrust of A.A.'s significance
Religious History. Two points stand out. First, note the
idea of a
"fellowship," a Gemeinschaft, a fraternite, within
which one seeks
self-healing through sharing one's own "experience,
hope" - that is, telling one's story. Second, mark
the wariness of
the usual trappings of religion in the succinct detailing
membership requirement, the attitude to money and to controversy,
the explicit denial of belief-based or cause-based affiliation.
my approach to describing A.A.'s significance will
be historical, it seems better to use the alloted time to
that significance rather than to detail its historical
development. Thus, to frame understanding, let me merely
conscious, explicit, and well-documented sources of the
embodied and enacted within Alcoholics Anonymous and then
sketch how those ideas got there.5
explicit sources are three: l- The psychology of Dr.
Carl Jung and most particularly his insistence on the importance
of "religious experience;" 2- The Oxford Group
Re-Armament) vision of "First Century Christianity"
by the Pennsylvania - born Lutheran minister, Frank Buchman;
William James's portrayal of The Varities of Religious
Experience and especially his description of the "conversion"
experience by the "twice born" or the "sick-soul."
story of A.A.'s shaping by these sources can be told
briefly. Over several months in 1931, Roland Hazard, a Connecticut
businessman, sought treatment for his alcoholism from Dr.
who suggested that his only hope was "a religious experience."
Roland joined the Oxford Group and carried that message
of Jung to
his friend, also alcoholic, Edwin Thatcher. Thatcher in
November of 1934, conveyed it to the most hopeless drunk
his old drinking-buddy William Griffith Wilson, a former
Street hustler. Scant weeks later, Wilson, while being detoxified
in Towns Hospital in New York City, underwent a "spiritual
experience" that his physician, Dr. William Duncan
helped him to understand in Jamesian terms.
his release from the hospital, Wilson for four months
tried to carry the same message to others, both within the
Group and at Towns Hospital, but without any success beyond
fact that he himself stayed sober. In May of 1935, Bill
to Akron, Ohio, in pursuit of a business opportunity that
failed. Fearing that he would again turn to alcohol, Wilson
out another alcoholic not for the purpose of saving that
but to save himself. The alcoholic Bill found turned out
to be a
physician, a surgeon, Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, and so
than tell him about the disease, alcoholism, Wilson told
about himself, the alcoholic. Although familiar with Oxford
ideas, Smith heard something different in Wilson. The date
Smith's last drink, June 10, 1935, is celebrated within
Anonymous as its birthday, and "Bill W. and Dr. Bob"
as A.A.'s co-founders.
of those sources, some dismiss Alcoholics Anonymous
as another example of the crutch that simplistic evangelical
religion affords the intellectually deficient, seeing little
difference between attending A.A. meetings and joining some
Others find in Alcoholics Anonymous
more of a "mind cure" or "positive thinking"
approach, and of
course Donald Meyer has taught us to see through all the
Still others, perhaps more respectfully but no
less reductively, concentrate on the "mysticism"
thought and present A.A. in terms of Aldous Huxley's "perennial
philosophy" as updated by Milton Berman or, more fashionably,
the concepts of Gregory Bateson's "Cybernetics of Self."8
Most recently, in response to A.A.'s success, we find deeper
psychological yet, still religiously lacking analysis in
of Harvard psychiatrists John Mack and Edward Khantzian
exploration of "narcissism" and "The Governance
of the Self".9
Yet all these analyses of Alcoholics Anonymous, whether
contemptuous or appreciative, overlook the same two things:
context and A.A. practice.
point in this paper is that in order to understand the
religious and philosophical significance of Alcoholics Anonymous
and its offspring in American history, two simple facts
kept in mind. First, Alcoholics Anonymous came into being
attained final form in the decade between 1935 and 1945.
from its beginning and still today, the philosophy and the
spirituality - the healing - of Alcoholics Anonymous is
transmitted by the practice of storytelling, of telling
particular kind of story the very format of which inculcates
of thinking that shapes a particular way of life.
the context. Ideas, perhaps especially if borrowed
from varied sources, have implicit as well as self-conscious
roots. There is both a climate and a soil of opinion. The
between 1929 and 1945 mark the dawn of a renewed awareness
human limitation. Less significant, for our purposes, than
Great Depression, the revelations of Auschwitz, and the
atomic weapons, are the permeation of American thought by
existentialist philosophy and neo-orthodox theology. However,
confusedly, Americans in this era found themselves confronting
"the experience of nothingness" and distinguishing
between doing and having but between doing and being.10
earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous, like most of
their successors, were not readers of Heidegger and Sartre,
even of Paul Tillich and the brothers Niebuhr. And although
is evidence of subtly shaping influence by the thought of
Horney and Harry Stack Sullivan, I prefer to rest my claim
affinity on the recognition of it by Reinhold Niebuhr in
"Letter to A.A.," in which he marked precisely
the "acceptance of
failure and limitation" as the key to A.A.'s success.11
personal acceptance of human essential limitation
permeates the whole A.A. program. It comes through most
the Alcoholics Anonymous understanding of the "alcoholic"
someone who cannot safely drink any alcohol at all. The
of that "cannot" does not take away freedom but
bestows it. For if
there is a not at the very core of one's being, then embrace
that not fulfills one's being. Guided by an insight far
the fifty or two hundred years usually accorded it by the
historically naive, the A.A. member views his or her disease
inherent attraction to the self-destructive - in psychological
terms, as an obsession - compulsion. In a theological vocabulary,
Alcoholics Anonymous understands alcoholism not as actually
but as a manifestation of "original sin." In the
am an alcoholic," then, one professes less "I
cannot drink" than
"I can not-drink" - no small freedom for the obsessive-compulsive,
for the addict.
focus on the "not-ness" of human essential limitation
suggests a vision of human both-and-ness, of the human as
mixture or a meeting point of being and non-being. Because
concept is so abstract, let me break off from this exploration
what A.A. drew from the context of its formative decade
to how this abstract vision is conveyed within the very
format of an A.A. meeting - by the practice of storytelling.
bridge between context and practice, between the abstract
and the concrete, may be found in two understandings that
undergrid Alcoholics Anonymous as both program and fellowship.
According to a key passage of the A.A. "Big Book";
"Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is
the root of our
That self-centeredness, which attempts to deny Vt
human both-and-ness, manifests itself in especially two
the drinking alcoholic. First, there is the claim and the
to be in control, signaled by the way the alcoholic uses
alcohol and other people. Second, there is the denial of
dependence - again, both on alcohol and on others.
reality, of course, as A.A. recognizes, the actively
drinking alcoholic is both totally out of control, addicted,
utterly dependent on the chemical alcohol. A.A.'s prescription,
the fundamental message of all stories told at its meetings,
the middle course of limited control and limited dependence.
can do something, but not everything." You alone can
do it, but
you cannot do it alone." These acceptances, conveyed
telling of stories, shapes the nature of the A.A. fellowship.
telling of stories. Recall A.A.'s "Preamble":
their experience, strength and hope." How is it that
narrative - telling stories that "disclose in a general
we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like
can prove healing not only of chronic disabilities such
alcoholism but of one's humanity itself? For the answer,
most helpful to turn first not to the context of scholarly
discussion in the fields of philosophy, theology, literary
and historiography, but to the context of A.A.'s own history.14
the fledgling fellowship left the Oxford Group - in 1937
in New York, in 1939 in Akron - its first one hundred members
so precisely because they objected to the Group's explicit
religiosity. Philosophically, the Oxford Group's insistence
"Four Absolutes" did not fit the emerging program's
essential limitation. Theologically, the Oxford Group practice
narrating tales of conversion offended the sensibilities
the agnostics and the Roman Catholics who made up a significant
part of early A.A. membership. But what, then, were they
to do at
their own meetings?
attended those gatherings, and the neophytes had
questions. They had failed at earlier efforts to avoid
drunkenness, how was A.A. different? What did it mean when
suffered memory-loss? How complete need be the "inventory"
"amends" spoken of in the Twelve Steps? Was wanting
to get even
the same thing as "harboring a resentment?" These
and a hundred
other questions were raised: no one is more skilled in denial,
finding a reason to drink again, than the newly dry alcoholic.
those sober for a year or two were not philosophers, theologians,
psychologists, nor physicians - even Dr. Bob, after all,
proctologist. And so they could answer only by telling of
own experiences with the same or similar concerns.
developed the A.A. modality of story-telling: a modified
"conversion narrative" that contained echoes of
the classic story
motifs of the hero and the pilgrimage. The themes explored
Joseph Campbell in his studies of heroic myth shed much
Each teller in the pursuit of "more" had entered
the outer darkness and had explored the pit; now, having
surmounted its dangers, he had returned, wiser and witnessing
hope. But the heroic plot of separation - initiation - return
leavened by another, deeper, theme - that of the pilgrimage.16
A.A. storytellers are still "on the way," for
they are ever
mindful that A.A.'s promise is "spiritual progress
and the very fact that they are present
testifies that they too need help.
we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like
now" thus describes a dialectical process of both being
and changing. Or, to put it another way, in the A.A. modality
storytelling, one is "saved," but not completely.
sobriety - remains operative only so long as one makes it
available to others by telling the story of one's own.
limned A.A.'s context - the existentialist and
neo-orthodox sense of limitation - and the implication of
practice of storytelling, it is now time to bring these
in a deeper unity. Through the program and within the fellowship
of Alcoholics Anonymous, human beings are healed not by
but by practice, not by science but by art. For A.A. has
discovered - and tells and implements - a larger story.
corollary of essential limitation, and therefore of the
context of the sense that marks the post-modern sensibility,
the rediscovery of the ancient distinction between techne
phronesis, between knowledge and wisdom.18
Perhaps the greatest
significance of Alcoholics Anonymous in the history of ideas
consists in its practical implementation of a mode of thinking
that leads to a way of life that values the claim of wisdom
without rejecting the validity of knowledge.
those unfamiliar with or perhaps unsympathetic to the
rediscovery of phronesis, let me suggest ten distinctions
attempt not to explain but to describe the significance
fundamental distinction and therefore of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Knowledge seeks to collect facts, data; concerned with
technique, it hears the question "Why?" as asking
"How?" Wisdom is
concerned with meaning and thus with value: seeking reasons
than causes, it hears the question "Why?" as inquiring
"Wherefore?" Research demonstrates that A.A. stories
raw material for philosophy than for sociology.19
Knowledge is primary a method; it seeks truth by
experiments that aim at exactness. Knowledge focuses on
and, the mastery of knowledge produces experts. Wisdom is
it seeks truth by understanding, which is concerned with
Wisdom focuses on quality: immersion in wisdom produces
There are no experts in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Knowledge can and must be added to, even replaced; it
comes to us in textbooks and articles that we read once
"refer to." Wisdom is less added to than deepened;
it comes to us
in "classics" - works that we re-read and ponder
because we change
more than they do. As its nickname hints, A.A.'s "Big
in the latter category.
Knowledge gives answers: one possesses knowledge and
therefore can sell it. Wisdom suggests new perspectives
ultimate questions; one does not possess wisdom but is rather
possessed by it, and thus any claim to "sell"
wisdom signals the
charlatan. No one can buy Alcoholics Anonymous.
In the ancient classical understanding, the source of
knowledge is leisure, either the possession of it or the
for it. A.A. stories witness to what Edith Hamilton has
was a core Greek insight: "Wisdom's price is suffering,
and it is
always paid unwillingly although sent in truth as a gift
Knowledge attends to realities as things: biochemists and
neurologists can offer us much knowledge about alcoholism.
attends to realities as personal: Alcoholics Anonymous is
interested only in the alcoholic.
Knowlege locates human uniqueness in the capacity to
think. Wisdom locates human uniqueness in the capacity to
A.A. presents itself as both program and fellowship.
Knowledge, rejecting story for analysis, insists on the
separation of "fact" and "value." Wisdom
finds truth in stories
because of its insistence that "What can I know?"
and "How shall I
live?" are not two unrelated questions.
Knowledge is fascinated by the new; it is at least tempted
to give the presumption of validity to novelty. Wisdom encourages
mindfulness of the old, offering the presumption of value
which has endured the test of time. The truest statement
Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is nothing new.
Knowledge accepts as reality only that which has been or
at least can be proven. Wisdom acknowledges the possibility
existence of that which escapes strict proof, holding that
are some realities, such as love and sobriety, in the existence
which one must believe before one can see them.
let me blur those distinctions: according to the point of
view represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, to be human is
both scientist and artist, for to live humanly requires
knowledge and wisdom. If, as we have been warned and have
experienced in some modern cult and drug experiences, "Knowledge
separates while mysticism unites," it is also true
distinguishes without either separating or uniting.
key distinction and the message of all storytelling
concerns the complexity of human being. To be human is to
a unique, individual self and somehow part of reality greater
the self. This insight underlies all religion, art, and
be human is thus also at the same time to be both more and
than merely human: it is to exist, essentially, in a mixed,
middle, paradoxical condition. Over Emerson Hall, the philosophy
building in Harvard Yard, there is inscribed the Judaeo-Christian
version of one-half of that ancient wisdom: "You have
made him a
little less than the angles." The ancients knew that
we are also a
little more than the beasts, or, better, that to be human
is to be
neither beast nor angel yet somehow also to be both. Wisdom's
vision is of human both-ness.
comedy and all tragedy - all storytelling - witness to
that vision. The core of comedy is the embrace of human
both-and-ness. Tragedy details the effort to deny that same
both-and-ness. And what of Alcoholics Anonymous, wherein
in which tragic tales are met with laughter confuses so
observers? Long before A.A., some alcoholics - "compulsive
drunkards," they were called in American colonial times
recovered. Until Alcoholics Anonymous, they thought of themselves
as "ex-alcoholics," or perhaps as "reformed
am sure you know that the customary introduction of any
storyteller within Alcoholics Anonymous runs: 'IMy name
is . . . . and
I am an alcoholic." Refer to an "ex-alcoholic,"
and most members
of Alcoholics Anonymous will begin searching the obituary
paradox of human both-and-ness, then, is contained
in and taught by the very concept "sober alcoholic."
That is why a
recovering member need not even speak at all to tell his
a A.A. meeting: simply being there as a sober alcoholic,
story... although it is of course useful and helpful to
of the details of each particular heroic pilgrimage quest.
accept the possibility of being a "sober alcoholic"
is to accept
the reality of human both-and-ness, and in the wake of that
acceptance comes wisdom itself.
this embodiment of "wisdom" make Alcoholics Anonymous
philosophy or a religion? No, but A.A.'s claim to be a "way
life" does appear validated.22
Remember Bonhoeffer's call for a
"religionless Christianity." Both philosophy in
sense and theological religion have suffered eclipse in
times, especially in the Anglo-American world that gave
Alcoholics Anonymous and first witnessed its widespread
point in this paper concerns the significance for the
story of wisdom of the story of Alcoholics Anonymous. For
millennium, until some time in the seventeenth or eighteenth
century, human beings preferred wisdom to knowledge. Then,
some two or three centuries, they pursued knowledge at the
of wisdom, in both contexts, some sought to reverse the
almost in a either-or, all-or-nothing fashion. The modern
cult, and even some therapies, evidence that tendency. The
significance of Alcoholics Anonymous, lies in its attempt
regain wisdom without sacrificing knowledge, in its witness
their complementarity, in the reality that the A.A. fellowship
program have transcended the religious "problems"
of the past two
or three centuries in a way that again makes wisdom and
insights available to large numbers of very ordinary people
without requiring them to reject knowledge.
wisdom - phronesis, sapientia - is not the same as
"religion" nor even as the reality for which Bonhoeffer
Alcoholics Anonymous presents its fellowship as "spiritual
than religious," and co-founder Bill Wilson was wont
challenges to its program by those who wanted it to be "more"
referring to A.A. as "a spiritual kindergarten."
"only what does not have a history can be defined,24
suggest that no better description of wisdom can be found
A.A.'s portrayal of itself as "way of life."
second contention in this paper, then, involves the claim
that Alcoholics Anonymous is also significant because of
way of life teaches, enables, and inculcates: an attitude
posture before reality - that is at the same time both profoundly
philosophical and deeply religious.
to describe such an attitude? Of what might it consist?
Argument, although inevitable, proves fruitless. Rather
beginning with a definition and proceeding deductively,
me begin with A.A. practice, seeking to derive an at least
possible model. To what does research indicate the practice
A.A. program leads in the daily life of its members?
literature on Alcoholics Anonymous recognizes four
attitudes as characteristic of A.A.'s sober members.25
sense of release for which they are profoundly grateful,
of Alcoholics Anonymous in embracing their own both-and-ness
"sober alcoholics" reveal a humility from which
tolerance - a joyous willingness to accept others' limitations.
Would it be too much to claim that it is precisely these
releasement and gratitude, tolerance and humility - that
characterize any really "religious" attitude?
will note that something is apparently missing. A
philosopher has recently insisted that the core of religion
be found in worship.26
But is "worship" so different from the
attitude of awe in the face of the universe" that the
psychiatrist, John Mack, remarked in A.A. - especially if
attitude of awe be celebrated communally?27
not only has a program; it is a "fellowship."
gratitude, tolerance and humility, although A.A. members
to practice them "in all our affairs," are celebrated
meetings - celebrated by the telling of stories.
religious professionals see in those meetings either
too much or too little. In A.A.'s early years, Catholic
scented in its Oxford Group origins and in its usual use
Protestant Lord's Prayer" a forbidden communicatio
in sacris. More
recently, other clerics have more pragmatically resented
that at least some alcoholics seem to substitute going to
meetings for attendance at church. Similarly, most non-religious
professionals tend to view Alcoholics Anonymous as "just
form of religion," just another "church."
these objections must be balanced by criticisms from the
opposite direction. Others, beginning with the Jesuit theologian
John Ford in the 1940s, have found A.A.'s claim to be "spiritual
rather than religious" all too true, or even too much.
Alcoholics Anonymous less for its failure to worship than
absence of theology. Some social scientists follow the same
viewing A.A. as primary group socialization - but Durkheimian
religion is not religion in any usual sense.28
does such disagreement leave the observer concerned
primarily with A.A.'s continuing history? The revivification
religion, like the rebirth of philosophy, is of course beyond
A.A.'s scope. Sober alcoholics are not that grandiose. But
suggest that any interested in either question - and perhaps
especially any scholars fascinated by the current revival
interest in story-telling among philosophers and theologians,
critics and historians, might find suggestive hints in the
story of Alcoholics Anonymous.
significance of Alcoholics Anonymous as a phenomenon in
American Religious or Philosophical History is quite simply
for the past half-century it has been in the center of a
mainstream that most scholars have been led by ideological
blinders to ignore. Two current revivals of interest render
continuation of that ignorance unconscionable. Within Alcoholics
Anonymous and its Twelve-Step offspring, more and more people
asking more and more explicity for guidance in spirituality.
Indeed, "spirituality" bodes to become the next
fad in an already
over-fadded field. That outcome will be sad, for it will
from all of us yet another important word. When a culture
accept the existence of some reality, whatever term those
experience that reality use to name it quickly becomes debased,
its original meaning perverted and lost.
the second revival, then, can offer hope - if those
engaged in it can prove more open-minded than their predecessors.
The revival of interest in narrative, in storytelling, might
much from the experience, strength and hope of Alcoholics
Anonymous. I commend to you that task in the words of the
italicized sentences that appear in the book, Alcoholics
Anonymous: "Willingness, honesty and open mindedness
essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable."29
s experience proves that that holds true for recovery
from alcoholism. May I suggest that it might hold equally
scholarship's recovery of humanity?
Current membership figure by private communication with
A.A.'s General Service Office, 10 January 1986; on the accuracy
of such figures, cf. Barry Leach and John L. Norris, "Factors
in the Development of Alcoholics Anonymous," pp. 441-543,
in Benjamin Kissin and Henri Begleiter, Treatment and Rehabilitation
of the Chronic Alcoholic (New York: Plenum, 1977), pp. 443-451.
"more of the young and cross-addicted now in A.A.,
Survey Reveals," Box 459,
Vol. 29 (1984), no. 5, 1: similar articles on other diversity
can be found in
almost every issue.
Leonard D. Borman, ed., Explorations in Self-Help and Mutual
11: Northwestern University, 1975); Alan Gartner and Frank
Riesman, eds., The
Self-Help Revolution (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1984);
Anderson, Living With Chronic Illness (Center City, MN:
May be found on p.3 of any issue of the A.A. Grapevine.
The history of Alcoholics Anonymous is recounted in two
of its own publications: Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
(New York:A.A. World Services, 1957) and "Pass It On"
(New York: A.A.W.S., 1984). Full sources for all the detailed
points that follow may be found in my own study, Not-God:
A History of Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN; Hazelden,
R.K. Jones. Sectarian Characteristics of Alcoholics Anonymous.
(Oxford) 4:181-195 (1970)
Donald Meyer, The Positive Thinkers (Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday,
Morris Berman, The Re-Enchantment of the World (Ithaca,
N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981); Gregory Bateson,
"The Cybernetics of Self: A Theory of Alcoholism,"
in Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (New York: Ballantine,
1972), pp. 309-337.
John Mack, "Alcoholism, A.A., and the Governance of
the Self," pp. 128-162; E.J. Khantzian, "Some
Treatment Implications of the Ego and Self Disturbances
in Alcoholism," pp. 163-188, both in Margaret H. Bean
and Norman E. Zinberg (eds.), Dynamic Approaches to the
Understanding and Treatment of Alcoholism (New York: Free
Press, 1981); cf. also George E. Vaillant, The Natural History
of Alcoholism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
William Barrett, Irrational Man (New York; Doubleday, 1958)
"Letter to A.A. from Reinhold Niebuhr," Thirty
Five Years (New York:
A.A.W.S., 1960), P. 65; on the claim to influence by Horney
and Sullivan, cf.,
e.g., Dr. Ester Richards (Baltimore) to Wilson, 18 July
Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: The Alcoholic Foundation,
1939), p.74; in
the more readily available 2nd and 3rd editions (New York:
A.A.W.S., 1955 and
1976), p. 62.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st ed., p. 70; 2nd and 3rd eds.,
The recent literature on story is vast; I rely especially
on; Stanley Hauerwas, Truthfulness and Tragedy (Notre Dame,
IN: University Press, 1977): Alasdair Macintyre, After Virtue
(Notre Dame, IN: University Press, 1981): Terry Eagleton,
Literary Theory: An Introduction (Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press, 1983) : Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative,
Vol. 1, trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer (Chicago:
University Press, 1984); Paul Verne , Writing History, trans.
Mina Moore-Rinvolucri (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University
Press, 1984); Arthur C. Danto, Narration and Knowledge (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1985).
Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces (Princeton,N.J.
University Press, 1949).
Concerning pilgrimage, cf. MacIntyre, pp. 203-204.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st ed., p. 72; 2nd and 3rd eds.,
In addition to the sources cited in note 14, cf. Richard
Beyond Objectivism and Relativism (Philadelphia: University
of Penn. Press,
1983); also Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M.
Sullivan, Ann Swidler,
and Steven M. Tipton, Habits of The Heart (Berkeley: University
of Cal. Press,
Why this is true may perhaps be grasped from a very insightful
anthropology dissertation: Mary Catherine Taylor, Alcoholics
Anonymous: How it Works (University of California at San
Francisco, 1977), University Microfilms *79-13241.
Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way (New York: Norton, 1930),
Cf. Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Drinking
in America (New
York: Free Press, 1982), pp. 9-21.
(William G. Wilson), Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
(New York: A.A.W.S., 1953), p.15; (Wilson), As Bill Sees
It: The A.A. Way of Life (New York: A.A.W.S., 1967).
Cf. Kurtz, Not-God, pp. 113, 185.
Attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche by Susan Sontag, "When
Writers Talk Among Themselves," The New York Times
Book Review, 5 January 1986, p. 22.
The pre-1979 literature is best perused in Kurtz, Not-God;
cf. especially Vaillant, Natural History, pp. 197-208 and
also "Dangers of
Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Alcoholism," pp.
36-54, in Bean and Zinberg
(eds.), as well as Mack, pp. 160ff., and Khantzian, p. 172,
as cited. A less
technical and more comprehensive view is offered by Milton
A. Maxwell, The
Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up for Professionals
McGraw-Hill, 1984), especially pp. 70-128.
Leszek Kolakowski, Religion (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1982), pp.
Mack, "Governance," p. 144.
For an early example, cf., e.g., R.F. Bales, The Therapeutic
Alcoholics Anonymous as Seen by a Sociologist," Quarterly
Journal of Studies on
Alcohol 5:267-278 (1944); further references on this and
the preceding points
may be found in Kurtz, Not-God, pp. 306, 314.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st ed. (after the 1st printing),
p. 400; 2nd and 3rd
eds., p. 570.