Century Marks

Higher power: Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was a gifted, largely self-taught man. Without a college degree, he scored well on a complex test administered by inventor Thomas Edison. But when Edison offered him a job, Wilson didn’t even respond. Instead, he launched into what was then virgin territory—stock market analysis. He became reasonably well-to-do until the stock market crash of 1929. But alcoholism had put Wilson’s life on the skids long before the market crashed. Binge drinking was followed by desperate remorse and unfulfilled pledges to his wife and others that he wouldn’t drink again. One of the doctors to whom Wilson went for treatment was an early proponent of the notion that alcoholism isn’t a moral problem but a disease—without a known cure. An alcoholic acquaintance of Wilson’s sought out Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for treatment. Jung had concluded that the only cure came from spiritual experiences.

 

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