Author Topic: Bill W and LSD  (Read 2934 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alexandra Lost

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Bill W and LSD
« on: June 25, 2013, 08:42:04 AM »
I stumbled on this tidbit yesterday.

Apparently Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, believed pretty strongly in the therapeutic use of LSD as a tool for substance abuse recovery

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/23/lsd-help-alcoholics-theory

Brief quote from the article

According to the anonymous author of his official biography, Wilson felt LSD "helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one's direct experiences of the cosmos and of god". He "thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered".

And according to Wikipedia, Bill's first conversion, the one that lead to his quitting drinking, came about after a treatment called "The Belladonna Cure"

formula[clarification needed] for Towns-Lambert cure was the deliriant, Atropa belladonna, also called deadly nightshade. The effects of belladonna include delirium, hallucinations, light sensitivity, confusion, and dry mouth.[original research?] The second ingredient in the mixture was another deliriant, Hyoscyamus niger, also known as henbane, hog's bean, or insane root. It contained two alkaloids, hyoscyamine and hyoscine. The third major ingredient was the dried bark or berries of Xanthoxylum Americanum, or prickly ash, added to help with diarrhea and intestinal cramps.[7] The dosage given was determined by the physiologic reaction of each patient. When the face became flushed, the throat dry, and the eyes dilated, the amount of the mixture was reduced or stopped.[8]

The mixture was given every hour, day and night, for nearly 50 hours. The end of the treatment was marked by the abundance of stools and then castor oil was given to the patient as a further purgative.[8] The treatment was also described as 'puke and purge'.[9]
The week following the treatment a diet of a special tonic and simple and easy to digest meals would relax the patient.[11]


Of course, the mainstream "my way or the highway" types at AA Headquarters shut him down and he left the organization he founded.

I really had NO idea. Now I really want to read this guy's biography.

Offline kbud

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: Bill W and LSD
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 01:37:38 PM »
I imagine we would have a totally different world if people were allowed psychoactive therapy. I didn't know he partook. pretty interesting.

Offline Alexandra Lost

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Bill W and LSD
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 02:39:31 PM »
It's interesting to know that he would probably be on this forum if he were still around.

I'm glad I saw this when I did. I was in need of some validation for the path to recovery I'd chosen and this helped. Funny how you find things when you need them most.

So this morning I bought the book "Distilled Spirits" --  Getting High, Then Sober, with a Famous Writer, A Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk.......a "sort of" biography of Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard and Bill Wilson. Seems interesting so far.

I stubbed my toe HARD yesterday and broke it - judging by its purple misshapen appearance.. After the incredibly intense burst of pain I felt the rush of natural painkillers hit the opiate receptors and my first thought was "Wow, that was almost worth it".

Offline Alexandra Lost

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Bill W and LSD
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 08:24:49 AM »
Bill Wilson took the Towns-Lambert Belladonna Cure 4 times. It was during his 4th treatment that he had the blinding spiritual revelation that ultimately led to the founding of AA.

So I guess the 4th flood REALLY is the charm !  ;)

Offline ddraig

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 217
    • View Profile
Re: Bill W and LSD
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 08:14:25 PM »
Bill Wilson took the Towns-Lambert Belladonna Cure 4 times. It was during his 4th treatment that he had the blinding spiritual revelation that ultimately led to the founding of AA.

So I guess the 4th flood REALLY is the charm !  ;)


Just recently read Distilled Spirits myself. The Bill W documentary that came out last year goes into his use of LSD as a way to facilitate the spiritual experience for himself, as well as other alcoholics who are not spiritually inclined. This film is very popular with AAs, but have not asked many what they thought of it.

That book also talks about the fact that Bill W's grandad had a profound spiritual experience which caused him to quit drinking flat out.