Cravings for Deliverance: How William James, the Father of American Psychology, Inspired Alcoholics Anonymous reflects on what inspired one of the greatest movements of the 20th Century. William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, first published in 1902, is considered one of the seminal books of the twentieth century and had an important influence on the thinking of Carl Jung and the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Indeed, The Varieties of Religious Experience is the only text quoted in Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”). Yet the strong influence of James and his work on the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous is not well known, understood, or recognized. Cravings for Deliverance is the first book to explore the profound effect that Dr. James and his book had on AA and its founders. In addition to weaving together brief excerpts from James’s book with the writings of Bill Wilson (who wrote most of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous) to show how closely the two men’s work resonated, the book also provides new insight, information, and perspective for those interested in James and his work, and the many people in Twelve Step programs, including Alanon, who have found Varieties of Religious Experience difficult to navigate.

 

Author: Paul Schulte,

Founder and Editor Schulte Research

 

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Review: 

 

"Paul Schulte has filled a huge gap in the literature of Twelve-Step history
and recovery by giving William James, one of the addiction field s
most influential and yet unheralded pioneers, his due. He eloquently
demonstrates that it isn t likely that AA s co-founder, Bill Wilson, would
have incorporated into the AA program of recovery three essential
ingredients of 1) surrender, 2) a higher power to surrender to, and 3) the
importance of service with such psychological insight if he hadn t read
The Varieties of Religious Experience. This is an important addition to spirituality
and recovery literature and should be read by anyone interested
in living a thoughtful spiritual life.: 

--Sid Farrar, Acquisitions Editor, Hazelden Publications

 

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