AA's Bill W. Used LSD in Sobriety

AA's Bill W. Used LSD in Sobriety

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Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#1 Dec 16, 2011
From Central Texas District 5 Alcoholics Anonymous website (came up under Google search of "Bill W. LSD":

Did Bill Wilson use LSD?

Question: Is it true that A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson used LSD after he stopped drinking?

Answer: Yes, back when it was still legal in The United States and Canada, Bill used LSD in a clinical setting. At the time LSD was an experimental drug tried in many types of therapies. It was done in the company of Canadian pharmaceutical researchers who were investigating potential clinical uses for this new drug.

Bill first took LSD on August 29, 1956. According to Pass It On: The story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World, published by A.A. World Services, Inc., Bill was enthusiastic about his experience; he felt it helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one's direct experience 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.

Bill is quoted as saying:

It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God's grace possible. If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone. It will never take the place of any of the existing means by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced.

See pages 370 & 371 in Pass It On.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#2 Dec 16, 2011
Tried to find the scene of Elizabeth Taylor in 'Suddenly Last Summer' on YouTube but they no longer have all its film clips on there. But the one where she goes something like "....and this you will never believe...nobody, nobody, nobody will ever believe!". Well, that's what comes to mind when considering about not only Bill W. experimenting with LSD in sobriety, but conjecture LSD is given involuntarily in doxycyxline when used to treat Lyme disease. There are only the vaguest hints, such as a common comment on Lyme boards..."Who put the acid in the punch?!", and Wyatt Sexton's coming undone in a street after leaving a music festival, claiming he was God, etc., etc. Newspapers reported he was later diagnosed with Lyme disease. But the entire spector involved the notion he was not experiencing Lyme disease symptoms but had taken hallucinagens (sp.?) at the music festival. MS involves neuro-psychiatric manifestations, and Lyme is often compared to it, but how could brain lesions from either have caused Wyatt Sexton to act as he did? There is a tremendous amount of mystery surrounding Lyme disease, and documentary's purporting to expose the truth (about Lyme disease) actually arouse skepticism instead. But based on my own personal experience, there has been a tremendous amount of dishonesty, etc., surrounding the Lyme disease diagnosis from day 1. The only symptom I had from the tick bite was the large red rash; the multitude of symptoms that came after, and continue to this day, came after being on the doxy for 5 days (prescribed for 21 days, but they stopped it after 5 days saying I was having an "allergic reaction to the doxy"). I have severe neuro-psychiatric manifestations since then, and wonder if, even though it can only seem an unbelievable idea since it is so preposterous, I was exposed to LSD involuntarily through the doxy. On the LSD Wiki page (granted Wiki is often unreliable), there is a link to involuntary medical experiments on the poor and mentally ill that shows the idea may not be so preposterous or unbelievable after all.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#3 Dec 17, 2011
From webiste "Bill Wilson's Fight With Depression':

..."British radio commentator Gerald Heard introduced Bill W to Aldous Huxley and British psychiatrists Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer (the founders of orthomolecular psychiatry). Humphrey and Osmond were working with schizophrenic and alcoholic patients at a Canadian hospital.

Bill joined with Heard and Huxley and first took LSD in CA on August 29, 1956. Medically supervised by psychiatrist Sidney Cohen of the LA VA hospital, the LSD experiments occurred well prior to the "hippie era" of the late 1960's.

At the time, LSD was thought to have psychotherapeutic potential (research was also being funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Academy of Sciences). The intent of Osmond and Hoffer was to induce an experience similar to the DTs in hopes that it might shock alcoholics away from alcohol.

Among those invited to experiment with LSD (and who accepted) were Nell Wing, Father Ed Dowling, Sam Shoemaker and Lois Wilson. Marty M and other AA members participated in NY (under medical supervision by a psychiatrist from Roosevelt Hospital).

Bill had several experiments with LSD up to 1959 (perhaps into the early 1960's). The book "Pass It On" (PIO 368-377) reports the full LSD story and notes that there were repercussions within AA over these activities. Lois was a reluctant participant and claimed to have had no response to the chemical."...
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#4 Dec 17, 2011
From webpage 'The Other Women' by A. Orange:

Tom Powers helped Bill Wilson to write Bill's second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Francis Hartigan, who was Lois Wilson's private secretary and confidant, recently wrote a biography of Bill Wilson. For it, Hartigan interviewed Tom Powers, and quoted Tom as saying that he had urged Bill to quit his smoking and womanizing:

"All the while we were working on the 'Twelve and Twelve,'" Tom said, "I would argue with him,'you're killing yourself. And think about what you're doing to Lois!"
While other people I spoke with insisted that Lois never knew about Bill's affairs, Tom insisted that "Lois knew everything and she didn't have to guess about it, either. A lot of people tried to protect her, but there were others who would run to Stepping Stones to tell Lois all about it whenever they saw Bill with another woman.
I asked Tom how Bill reacted when Tom would insist that Bill's guilt over his infidelities was responsible for his depressions.
"I think that was the worst part of it," he said. "Bill would always agree with me.'I know,' he'd say.'You're right.' Then, just when I would think we were finally getting somewhere, he would say,'But I can't give it up.'
"When I would press him as to why the hell not, he would start rationalizing. What would really kill me is when he'd say,'Well, you know, Lois has always been more like a mother to me.' Which somehow was supposed to make it all right for him to cheat on her."
Tom himself had also been sexually compulsive even after he quit drinking, and he found it very hard to change his behavior....
Tom said that it took him five years after he quit drinking to change his behavior in this area, and for five years after that, he tried to get Bill to change, too. "Besides what he was doing to the women he was chasing and to Lois, his behavior was a huge source of controversy in AA," Tom said. "He could be very blatant about it, and there were times when it seemed like the reaction to a particularly flagrant episode would end up destroying everything he had worked for. But then people would scurry around and smooth things over, or cover it all up."
According to Tom, Bill's behavior caused some of his most ardent admirers to break with him. Eventually, Tom broke with Bill, too.
"I told him that I still considered him to be my sponsor, but that I didn't want to work with him anymore. I said that I hoped we could be friends, but I didn't want to have anything more to do with him publicly. I just couldn't go on feeling as though I was in any way supporting what he was doing to Lois and to himself.
"Bill said,'Fine. I feel the same way about you, too,' and we shook on it. As though it were some mutually agreed upon parting of the way, with fault on both sides. Which was a real switcheroo, you know. I think he knew that I saw right through it, but I guess it made him feel better not to have to take responsibility for destroying what had been a very enjoyable and productive working relationship."
Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000, pages 171-172.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#5 Dec 17, 2011
It took three attempts, but the short story by Dostoevsky,'Notes From the Underground', finally made sense. It applies here, particularly in respect to someone attempting to live by Christian values experiencing sexual sin.

I wrote on another thread that my experience has been similar to Bill W.'s--the desire to drink removed from the start, but not so with desires for worldly pleasure. So this is all very interesting to find online, wasn't aware of some of it, but have always wondered if Bill W.'s depressions weren't tied in to the reported adultery. Oftentimes that is where my depression is traced back to--guilt due to lust of the eyes/flesh. If I'm carousing, I usually have ana ttack of conscience later that involves strong feelings of guilt or self-hatred. It's a good thing because without that as a consequence I would carouse unabated it's so enjoyable. But like Bill W. and the Underground Man, at times it seems like you just can't stop it. Unlike Bill W. though, my experiecne has, for the most part, been limited to carousing. And that's only because lustful relationships can be extremely, extremely, difficult to endure without desiring to turn to drinking to anthesthetize (sp.?) the emotions. I was involved with a woman early on in sobriety and have never forgotten the intense emotions involved and how difficult that was to endure. Recall hitchhiking in Wales, picked up by a lorry driver, later went out with he and his girlfriend. He was outrageously controlling and jealous around his girlfriend, even stopping the car in the middle of the street to chew her out. I felt bad for her, but also for him because I knew he was otherwise a nice guy. And remembered how that feels to live that way (learned later they were having all-night parties--probably meth was involved--unsure) with the promiscuity and consequently lack of trust that can be so incredibly intolerable. But when you're living that way it is so very difficult not to.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#6 Dec 17, 2011
26 years sober (7/18/85), and I till haven't got the sexual aspect together. With women, would get crazy in relationships--obsessive, jealous, etc.--so much so that it was impossible to continue. Except with one woman. And maybe because that wasn't motivated so much by lust, I wasn't really interested in continuing it (the sexual relations were enjoyable, but she had pretty much initiated the relationship). Don't know. The gay relationships never came together either. I've only had a few of each--hetero relationships and homo relationships; have lived most my life alone.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#7 Dec 17, 2011
I have a YouTube jones; love viewing and listening to women singers on YouTube. But I keep that quite tame. yesterady had a "slip" if you will--viewed Catherine Spaak film clip set to a Jaqueline Taeb catchy tune. Spaak changes her shirt in the back of a car.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#8 Dec 17, 2011
And lets not even talk about the things I've viewed on TV holding a remote ina motel room.
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#9 Dec 17, 2011
Pardon me...hadn't meant to minimize the concept of one's having a "slip"--whether that be with alcohol or as a sex addict in recovery...was just trying to make light of the subject of sexuality since the consequences can at times be quite harmful. The 1971 film 'X, Y, and Zee' w/ Elizabeth taylor, Susannah York, and Michael Caine is a favorite for that reason--it shows the tremdous harm that occurs in destructive sexual relationships. Very realistic, it always makes me think back to the relationship a girl and I were involved in for three years as teenagers. Haven't seen her since 1985, but still dream about her--and the dreams are almost always a torment. Drinking, pot smoking, promiscuity--the emotional scars can last for decades.

That webpage 'The Other Women' by A. Orange is funny though. Just read some more of it--it goes on and on. A. Orange site has voluminous stuff on AA. I disagree with A. Orange about the solution to drinking problem. A. Orange emphaisizes reliance on self, but I agree with much of AA in the respect that "self knowledge availed us nothing", etc. I couldn't stop at the end--I was definitely rendered powerless. Earlier on, years earlier in my drinking when things would get too out of hand i could stop with will-power, clean up the wreckage, save up and prepare for the next binge. But crossed that line at some point where (paraphrasing)--the true alcoholic loses the power of choice over whether they drink or not. Etc. Nevertheless, A. Orange has much good insight/info.
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#10 Dec 17, 2011
Ooops...didn't explain very well in above post: the dreams about the girl i was involved with as a teen are not about drinking, pot smoking, promiscuity--those were simply the factors involved in making the relationship harmful to the point I still have (troubled) dreams about her every now and then over 25 years later.
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#11 Dec 17, 2011
Update on (former) Florida State University quarterback Wyatt Sexton (Sexton was nationally acclaimed when playing for FSU years ago)--you can skip to the end where it says this: <The former FSU quarterback was arrested back in 2005 after a run-in with police who say they found him lying in the street and proclaiming himself as God, an incident later linked to Lyme Disease.>:

UPDATE 3-15-11 6:00 pm by Jill Chandler

Former FSU and Leon high school quarterback Wyatt Sexton has another run-in with the law. This one is just as bizarre as the one from six years ago in Leon County.

Tallahassee Police Arrested the 26-year-old Friday, charging him in a hit and run accident. This morning the details of the accident were released.

According to the police report, former Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton rear- ended a vehicle, and took off. He was arrested Friday and released the same day.

As the victim, Colin Creasy, went to write Sexton's license plate number down, the former Leon quarterback drove off but not before the victim was able to hop in the bed of Sexton's truck. The police report says the victim claims Sexton was driving recklessly in an attempt to throw him out of the car.

Creasy said when the car stopped Sexton began yelling about his mental health and how he going to get locked away for 45 years. Authorities say Sexton and the victim ended up at 210 Satsuma Street where the victim called the cops.

The Police Report shows Sexton saying that it was a big misunderstanding and he just went home for a few beers.

For those who know Sexton, and played football with him, they say no matter what his troubles, they will stand behind their friend and help out if they can.

"I think any guy that's played with Wyatt, any person associated with Florida State University or Florida State Athletics is always going to be there for anybody who is a part of our family, " said David Castillo, a former teammate of Sexton.

The former FSU quarterback was arrested back in 2005 after a run-in with police who say they found him lying in the street and proclaiming himself as God, an incident later linked to Lyme Disease.
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#12 Dec 17, 2011
I won't go into the Lymes here--that can get tiresome real fast--but always wondered how Sexton was able to play football but wsn't diagnosed with Lyme until after exhibiting neuropsychiatric manifestations. Seems if he had Lyme the tremendous fatigue would have debilitated him enough to where playing football would have been out of the question. I think the psychiatric symptoms, at least when reading medical journals on lyme disease, are not suppose to occur until later stages. But again, there is so much inconsistency when it comes to descriptions of Lyme disease, and this whole Wyatt Sexton thing is just one of many strange stories that makes one wonder what the heck is really going on...
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#13 Dec 17, 2011

Wyatt Sexton (born July 20, 1984) is a former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) American football quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles. Sexton is well known for his performances on the field and for his suffering from the effects of Lyme disease. Sexton's career ended after he was doused with pepper spray by police officers who found him lying in the street and proclaiming himself as God in June 2005.[1] Although Sexton was already suspended from the team at the time due to erratic behavior stemming from the disease, including failing to take a drug test,[2][3] and unusual behavior in practice. The aforementioned incident prompted his indefinite suspension and a prolonged battery of medical tests which ultimately revealed the disease.


Battle with Lyme disease

This would all change in the middle of 2005 however. In June 2005 Police responded to a call about a man doing pushups in the street and jumping on cars in a residential neighborhood near Tallahassee, Florida.[1] When they reached the scene, Tallahassee police officer Zachary Lyne stated that Sexton was sitting in the middle of the street wearing only a pair of wet shorts and when repeatedly asked to state his name he eventually responded only that he was God.[1] Lyne then stated that Sexton became belligerent and had to be pepper sprayed and subdued.[1] Sexton was not charged with a crime as he passed a sobriety test,[7] and police stated that he had not committed a criminal act.[7] The police then, after consulting with Sexton's parents, released him to a hospital for medical observation. Initially there were allegations of drug abuse which Sexton's family quickly repudiated.[2] Sexton was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease that can cause joint swelling and brain inflammation if left untreated.[5] The disease was deemed to be in its later stages by a Lyme disease specialist when it was diagnosed,[8] who then recommended a treatment program of intensive antibiotic therapy for several months.[5]

In January 2006 Sexton announced he was quitting the football team in order to concentrate on his health and academics at Florida State.[3]
Bruce Deile

Baring, WA

#14 Dec 17, 2011
Note in 3/11/2011 Sexton story (above):

"Creasy said when the car stopped Sexton began yelling about his mental health and how he going to get locked away for 45 years."

Sexton was afraid of being involuntarily committed. For what...neuropsychatric manifestations of Lyme disease? That would mean the antibiotics had not worked in 2005:

[5] The disease was deemed to be in its later stages by a Lyme disease specialist when it was diagnosed,[8] who then recommended a treatment program of intensive antibiotic therapy for several months.[5]

So...neuropsychiatric stuff from Lyme bacterial spirochete (borelia burgdorferi) causing brain/spinal cord inflammation/lesions, or neuropsychiatric from the antibiotics used to treat the Lyme? W/ Sexton, who knows? Maybe thedrug allegations were true, his parents wrong, or maybe not. Impossible to know. Point is, lots of crazy, inconsistent, mysterious info. surrounding Lyme disease. What's really going on?
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#15 Dec 19, 2011
Have read more insight into 'Notes From Underground'. Apparently there is profound meaning, with many interpretations. Mine must be quite superficial, but anyhow, it brought to my mind, with political/sociological meaning aside, that he was experiencing, as one review described it, "ensnarement in vice". What is interesting is that it involves Christian beliefs, and describes his inner thought process in trying to live by Christian beliefs but over time consistently being unable to and after growing tired of despairing over his inability to live better, becomes arrogant and embittered concerning his increasing immorality. It kind of reads like a sexual "drunkalogue", only there is no happy ending. Profound introspection and self honesty do not bring forth repentance or better living on his part. "Self knowledge availed us nothing"; AA Big Book. I think that is what Bill W. was saying (in post above)--that he was unable to quit his adulterous behaviour; hadn't found the willingness to repent and/or God's grace. Very helpful to read that--it's a very human experience that many in AA may be able to relate to. I know I can. Still mulling all this over.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#16 Dec 20, 2011
About to read 'Notes From Underground' again...just returned a bad translation, it had not begun "I am a sick man...I am an angry man.", but instead used the word "wicked" repeatedly in place of angry or spiteful. That didn't seem right, so back to a translation that has 'Notes...' and 'The Double'(another good short story).

In the intro it quotes Dostoevsky explaining Notes and referring to "....the consciousness of what is best and the impossibility of attaining it, and above all the firm belief of these unhappy creatures that everybody else is the same and that consequently it is not worth while trying to reform."

That also brought to mind Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr's (author of Serenity Prayer which AA later began to use in opening up its meetings) referring to the "impossible possibility" of Jesus' teachings.

A funny thought comes to mind too when tying in Al Jarreau's "You Don't See Me'(video of his 1978(?))live performance of that in Hamburg, Germany on YouTube): the lyrics are very much Dostoevsky Christian existentialism. They can by found in full online. The song is about alcohol/drug/sexual deparivity/induced psychosis. One line reflects the Underground Man's social comentary: "40 hours buys a grocery bag for trash"; lol.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#17 Dec 20, 2011
Al Jarreau - You Don't See Me (live, 1976)

video by musicbox285

He begins the song with the demented intro, explaining "...always trying to do those things I know are right to do but always someone there to stop me", etc. That's the Underground Man exclaiming to the prostitute Liza "They give me no...I'm incapable of being...good!" (another translation has him saying "they won't let me be good". Al Jarreau had that song juxtaposed with Christian gospel songs on what's considered his finest jazz album 'Look to the Rainbow'. I like this translations intro explaining the Liza the prostitute becomes the heroine of the story as the Underground Man is left "decaying morally in a corner". It's all very thought provoking.
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#18 Dec 20, 2011
It's like the just war theory--killing being a sin, but in that context considered God's will--Dostoyevsky illustrates a parallel of the ends justifying the means with prostitute Sonya in 'Crime and Punsihment' being a Christian, using prostitution to raise the orphans that would otherwise starve to death. Again--thought provoking--could that also be acceptable (God's will) as necesary altruism in a corrupt world?
Bruce Deile

Bellingham, WA

#19 Dec 20, 2011
Just began a new thread that might help in condensing matters...
Bruce Deile

Santa Fe, NM

#20 Feb 6, 2013
This came to mind regarding the militant AA meeting I recently attended in Cortez, Co. They were "thumping" the Big Book pretty hard, and even though I've read it many, many times and agree with much of it, noticed it's easy for members to use the book in an oppressive manner.

It bothered me, but keeping Bill W.'s and Dr. Bob's imperfections in mind helps. Otherwise people strongly emphasizing idealistic perfectionism can be very discouraging.

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