Friday, February 3, 2012


"In 1935, when Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, stopped drinking alcohol, he went home to a loyal, dedicated wife, a warm home with enough food, and a circle of people who cared about him. He had a law degree, was an experienced stockbroker, and had all the privileges accorded to an upper-middle-class White man from an old New England family. Most of the men who were instrumental in putting together the AA program and whose experiences were to be recorded in Alc0holics Anonymous, the AA "Big Book," came from similar backgrounds. (3)

Bill Wilson's imagination, determination, and creativity in putting together the twelve-step program that worked for him and many others does not change the fact that he was influenced by white, male, middle-class Christian values of the 1930's. Bill Wilson could not have known about issues that would become central in the ensuing decades - sexism, racism, homophobia, drug abuse, homelessness, and child sexual abuse - that are interwoven in addiction. He could not have known that, fifty years later, (76+ now!) the steps he wrote would be used internationally for men and women struggling with all types of addictions - from narcotics to food, sex, dependent relationships, medication, smoking, gambling, and spending, as well as incest and emotional problems.

It is important to remember that Bill Wilson based the steps and the Big Book on experiences of a hundred white men and one woman. He also based his definition of alcoholic personality - egocentric, arrogant, resentful, controlling or violent - on these people. (5)

-Charlotte Davis Kasl, PhD - Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps

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