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A.A./Carl Jung/Rowland Hazard/Ebby Thacher Myths or subjects of Hindsight Quarterbacking

A.A./Carl Jung/Rowland Hazard/Ebby Thacher
Myths or subjects of Hindsight Quarterbacking
Dick B. ©2005
The Core of Early A.A.
One of A.A.’s core New York underpinnings, as embodied in the Big Book and Twelve Steps, is the “solution”—a conversion experience—said to have been prescribed in the 1930’s for Rhode Island businessman Rowland Hazard by Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Jung. Jung recommended it as the necessary ingredient for Rowland’s overcoming his alcoholism characterized by Rowland’s having the “mind of a chronic alcoholic.” But it’s really under fire!
At this late date, you might wonder at the relevance of the following questions: Did Rowland Hazard ever treat with Dr. Carl Jung at all? If so, did Jung tell Rowland his primary hope lay in a transforming religious conversion? If Rowland was treated by Jung, was it only after the previous, alleged formative A.A. events that had led Rowland from Jung to Ebby Thacher and in turn to Bill Wilson—who co-founded A.A. thereafter? Finally, if Rowland actually recovered, did whatever success Rowland achieved come from following Jung’s advice, or through his treatment by therapist Courtney Baylor and the Emmanuel Movement, or by his simply undergoing a life-changing experience in the Oxford Group?
I don’t know for sure the answer to any of the foregoing questions.
The Challengers
But I seriously suspect the validity of the evidence presented by those who would answer “no” to most of those questions. Those people who today are claiming there is no record of the Jung/Hazard treatments. Those “new thought” advocates who are laying Rowland’s successes at the feet of the Emanuel Movement and the therapist Courtney Baylor. Those who seem to reject the fact that a number of alcoholics well known in Oxford Group circles (Rowland Hazard, F. Shepard Cornell, Cebra Graves, Victor Kitchen, Charles Clapp, Jr., and later Jim Houck) attributed their sobriety to their having followed Oxford Group principles and practices. 
I question this belated historical challenge, and the adequacy of the evidence on which it rests. For the challenges seem more calculated to lambaste the Oxford Group, the Bible, evangelical Christianity, and “religion” than to prove that these vital ingredients were never the heart of early New York’s recovery program. That their historical challenge deserves attention is not disputed by me– especially as I look at the secularization in the A.A. atmosphere of today. But these newly presented theories repudiate the foundation stones of A.A.’s Big Book premise. That premise is that you must establish a relationship with God by a conversion experience. That you do so by taking 12 life-changing steps. Many AAs have accepted that premise, and their stories are, in part, related in A.A.’s Came to Believe are neither factually substantiated nor historically reliable.
After 15 years of research into the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, I would challenge the revisionists by pointing to a good deal of evidence they have either ignored, minimized, or inadequately refuted.
The Real Rowland Hazard/Carl Jung Facts
First, the most compelling piece of evidence as to the accuracy of the story Bill Wilson wrote about Rowland Hazard and Carl Jung can be found in the extant correspondence between Bill Wilson and Dr. Carl Jung himself. I personally have copies of the correspondence that I obtained with permission from Bill’s home at Stepping Stones. And see Pass It On. NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984; Francis Hartigan, Bill W.; Lois Wilson. Lois Remembers, p. 93 in a letter to Bill Wilson. 
Second, the Rowland Hazard/Carl Jung account has been related by Rowland Hazard personally to many on the New York A.A. scene—people such as Bill’s sponsor Ebby Thacher, Rowland’s pastor Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Rowland’s Oxford Group colleagues—F. Shepard Cornell and Cebra Graves, Bill Wilson himself, Professor Philip Marshall Brown of Princeton, and Shoemaker’s associates Rev. W. Irving Harris and his wife Julia.
Third, many others with no axe to grind have repeated the story. Bill Wilson has written several times on several different occasions of the Rowland/Jung events. So has Rev. Sam Shoemaker who personally knew and worked with Rowland. So has Rev. Irving Harris. And so have Oxford Group friends of Rowland such as James D. Newton, Eleanor Forde Newton, Victor Kitchen, and Hanford Twitchell.
Fourth, as if seeking to enshrine the account in the very foundation of Calvary Church in New York, the story persists to this day as visitors are guided through Calvary and shown the stained glass windows in the church which are dedicated to Rowland Hazard—A.A.’s Rowland Hazard, as their literature remarks.
The Defective Challenges
Those who are known to espouse the rejection of Hazard’s visit are long on their support of the Emanuel Movement and New Thought and clearly deficient in their familiarity with the Oxford Group, with Oxford Group writings, and with Oxford Group members. They make no claim of having read or interviewed or reviewed the works and remarks of the Oxford Group people just mentioned.
They make much of dates, but little of facts. They purport to have reviewed Carl Jung’s records years and years after they were made. But they cannot and do not cite the entirety of Jung’s records or even claim to have examined them.
The detractors reject the very theory that enabled Bill Wilson to sell his whole East Coast version of the Alcoholics Anonymous road to recovery. That version, simply stated, was: (1) That the “medically incurable” and seemingly hopeless Rowland Hazard was told by Dr. Carl Jung that medicine could not help Rowland, but that a conversion might. (2) That Rowland sought a conversion via the Oxford Group—which happened to prefer the expression “change” in its own unique parlance for seeking for persuading “converts.” (3) That Rowland was changed and cured; sought out Ebby Thacher; and taught Thacher the Oxford Group life-changing principles. (4) That Ebby then had a conversion—albeit by accepting Jesus Christ at the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission (a fact seldom mentioned by historians). (5) That Ebby’s witness persuaded Wilson to go to Calvary and himself accept Christ (a fact seldom if ever mentioned by historians). (6) That Wilson then soon checked into Towns Hospital for treatment, was again indoctrinated by Ebby in the Oxford Group life-changing principles, and submitted himself to God as Bill said he then understood God. (7) That Bill had his resultant “hot flash” conversion experience in which Bill “found God,” and never drank again. (8) That Bill consulted the famous book by Professor William James on Varieties of Religious Experience, concluded that he had validated his own conversion in one of these experiences, and that James’s “deflation in depth” was also a necessary condition to conversion, and (9) That deflation in depth, application of Oxford Group principles, receiving a consequent conversion or “spiritual” experience as the result, was—when coupled with the Oxford Group idea of “sharing for witness” and thereby helping others to such an experience—the essence of a program developed by Bill Wilson himself in company with Rev. Sam Shoemaker and embodied in the language of Bill’s Big Book and Twelve Steps suggested as a program of recovery. 
And I believe the erroneous hindsight quarterbacking of several detractors of the Oxford Group/Conversion/Rowland Hazard/Carl Jung story (these being Dr. Ernest Kurtz, Dr. Glenn Chesnut, and Dr. Richard Dubiel) demonstrates in content that the analysts just plain missed the boat when it came to thoroughly investigating, describing, analyzing, and critiquing the actual events described above.
What has been demonstrated
There is ample evidence today that as many alcoholics get sober and stay sober outside the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous as do so within.
There is ample evidence today within the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous that between one and five percent of today’s members do get sober and stay sober within the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
There is, to my satisfaction, observable evidence that a great many long-time sober AAs today got sober and stayed sober within A.A. whether they were Jews, Protestants, Roman Catholics, agnostics, and possibly even atheists.
There is, to my satisfaction , observable evidence that many sober AAs today came into the fellowship, grabbed a Big Book and a Sponsor, studied the Big Book, “took” and endeavored to practice the principles of the Twelve Steps, and remained sober.
There is, to my satisfaction, observable evidence that among those A.A. believers—be they Jews, Roman Catholics, or Protestants—there are many who believe in God, pray, study the Scriptures, seek God’s guidance, attempt to find and apply His will, and provide love and service to others within the fellowship. That being true whatever the religious convictions of their neighbors may be. This legion of helpers has helped to make A.A. as famous as it is.
There is, to my satisfaction, observable evidence that far too many AAs, therapists, treatment center people, clergy, physicians, and counselors have little or no knowledge of A.A. history, of its Christian roots, or its early program in Akron, or of the enormous difference in the success rates in early A.A. as compared to those today.
There is, to my satisfaction, irrefutable and abundant evidence that: (1) In early Akron A.A., Bill Wilson—AA number one; Dr. Bob Smith—AA number two; and Bill Dotson—AA number three, all believed and stated they had been cured of alcoholism by Almighty God. (2) The program of recovery that was developed and used in Akron between 1935 and 1938 produced cures of alcoholism among 75% of those members who really tried and completely gave themselves to the program that was specifically described by Rockefeller’s agent Frank Amos after careful investigation in Akron. (3) That the Akron program was far different—definitely Christian in character and fellowship—than the one which Bill Wilson fashioned in New York primarily from Oxford Group life-changing principles taught him by Rev. Sam Shoemaker and embodied in the Big Book and Twelve Steps. (4) That if any AAs today were to hear of, learn, and apply the program developed and used in Akron throughout Dr. Bob’s life, those AAs would achieve the same 75% to 93% success rates that were achieved from the Akron program. (5) That many of us in today’s A.A. (myself included) have been in the trenches, have grabbed the Big Book program with enthusiasm, have dived into fellowship activities, have—with or without knowing what early AAs did—received the same help, healing, guidance, forgiveness, and love of God that is still available to those who want it and seek it. (6) That there is virtually no likelihood that the A.A. of today will, as a fellowship, ever accept, endorse, apply, or return to the A.A. of the pioneers. (7) That there is still a rampant hunger within the ranks of A.A. people today for facts about early A.A.’s Biblical program, Christian fellowship, and astonishing cures. (8) That if the early A.A. facts are widely disseminated within A.A. itself, there can be an enormous difference in the lives lived, the sobriety attained, and the service rendered by those who work within the fellowship and emulate the program which worked so successfully among the Akron pioneers.
No profit in ignorance
For years, perhaps at least 50, AAs have drifted farther and farther from any knowledge of, or resources about, their early program and its successes. For years, perhaps at least 50, AAs have been fed an idolatrous diet about higher powers and spirituality and good deeds that supposedly represent the real program of recovery. For years, perhaps at least 40, AAs have increasingly grown boisterous in their condemnation of religion, Christianity, the Bible, and even God—the number of such activists may well be few, but the sound of their voices is deafening and intimidating. For years, perhaps as many as 65, AAs have been spoon fed myths that detract from the Jung/Hazard/Thacher conversion beliefs, the Oxford Group program of the 1920’s and 1930’s, the vital importance of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. in New York, the supposed failures of churches and of clergy and of religion, and New Age pap about strange gods, pseudo-Christianity, and outright unbelief. For at least 40 years, the spotlight has been focused on an irrelevant Washingtonian Movement, an unsuccessful Emanuel and New Thought movement (the latter being unsuccessful in penetrating A.A. ranks), and the shortcomings and supposed traitorous beliefs of Oxford Group Founder Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman.
All these tides have washed away valuable history, vilified sound reports, and produced increasing ignorance of what A.A. is really about. In fact, the less that is known, the less A.A. has to offer except for meetings and abstinence—neither of which have had everlasting success within or without A.A.
If A.A. is a spiritual program of recovery—and it is; and if A.A. distinguished itself originally in its reliance on the Creator, the truths in the Bible, the power received in a new birth, and the outreach of love and service by ordinary drunks, then those are the facts which should be made known. This is true whether you believe in the Creator, Jesus Christ, the Bible, the new birth, and conversions or not. That is the history that is missing in too many of today’s “Bill W.” biographies, irrelevant studies of tangential alcoholism movements, and the long temperance events of past centuries.
Using A.A.’s Real Early A.A. History to Compare other present-day contenders
If we are going to talk about the Washingtonians, let’s start with the fact that God was not part of their program. If we are going to talk about New Thought, let’s start with the fact that it rejected the born-again faith found in early A.A. If we are going to talk about conversion, Rowland Hazard, Ebby Thacher, Carl Jung, and William James, let’s start with the nature of the Oxford Group, the religious beliefs of Carl Jung, and the New Thought orientation of William James. But if we are going to talk about A.A., let’s start with the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13, and find just what ideas therein were proclaimed by Dr. Bob to be absolutely essential to the early A.A.’s basic program. Yet I don’t see these discussed at all by the quarterbacks. A few, however, are finally beginning to recognize that they have never really looked into, reported on, or accurately summarized the real early A.A. history, particularly the whole program in Akron, the program as reported by Frank Amos to Rockefeller, the United Christian Endeavor roots of the Akron program, and the significance of James, the Sermon, and 1 Corinthians. I suggest contrasting and looking at the materials in three of my latest titles: When Early AAs Were Cured and Why; Twelve Steps for You; and The James Club and The Early A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials.
Copyright © Dick B.


This may have been too large for a text message. Here is what I attempted this morning….

Good morning Ron. Did some research online that you could pass on. The Hazard family was one of the most prominent families in New England, and I like that although Rowland never left the Oxford group, he demonstrated that our disease of alcoholism has never shown any mercy for race, class, or culture. Below is an excerpt from one of the sources I finished reading. At the end, I found it interesting that although the Hazard family was, and is still, a prominent Quaker family, Rowland had two sons die in WW II and a grandson die in Viet Nam. My connection to the family is that my brother is married into that family. His wife’s grandmother was Rowland’s baby sister. Here you go:                                                                                                                                                 Rowland “Roy” Hazard III (1881-1945) was the eldest of five children of woolen magnate Rowland Gibson Hazard II (1855-1918) and Mary Pierrepont Bushnell (1859-1936).He was a graduate of the Taft School in Waterbury, Conn., and of Yale University, class of 1903. He then worked briefly for the Solvay Process Company in Syracuse, N.Y., a family business. After 1907, he was involved with the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company, the family’s flagship woolen mill in South Kingstown, R.I., eventually becoming treasurer. This company was sold outside the family after the death of Rowland G. Hazard II in 1918.

            Rowland III served on the South Kingstown town council from 1908, and then in the Rhode Island state senate from 1914 to 1916; he was an active supporter of the Republican Party throughout his life. During the first World War, he served as captain in the Chemical Warfare Service of the Army. After the war, with the family business sold, he participated in the organization of the Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation. In 1920, he joined the New York City banking firm of Lee, Higginson & Co., residing on Long Island. While there, he remained active in Rhode Island affairs, and served as president of the Washington County Agricultural Society, which staged the annual Kingston Fair. Hazard resigned from his banking position in 1927 to travel in Africa.

            While in Africa, Hazard contracted a tropical illness, and spent several months convalescing in New Mexico. In the town of La Luz, he discovered large deposits of high-grade clay, purchased land, and formed the Aguadero Corporation to market pottery. He formed Rowland Third Inc. as a personal holding company in 1930, registered in the state of Vermont. Soon afterward, two new companies were spun off from the Aguadero Corporation: Timonel Farms, and the La Luz Clay Products Company. Though none of these New Mexico companies were as successful as hoped for, they remained active for the remainder of Hazard’s life.

            Hazard returned to Rhode Island in 1931, and acquired one of the family homes, “Druid’s Dream” in Narragansett. He also kept residences intermittently at 52nd Street and other addresses in Manhattan; in La Luz, New Mexico; at “Ladyhill” in Shaftsbury, Vermont; and at “Sugarbush” in Glastonbury, Vermont. In the 1930s, he commercially marketed maple syrup that had been tapped at his Vermont vacation home. He incorporated a real estate company, the What Cheer Realty Company, in 1932 (none of the records for What Cheer survive, but reference can be found in the Rowland Third Inc. records).

            He struggled with alcoholism for much of his life, and was active in the Oxford Group, a pioneering spiritual response to the disease. He played an important and well-known role in founding Alcoholics Anonymous, though he never became a member. Through the Oxford Group, he was active in the Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City, and became a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1936. He was active as officer or director of several organizations in his later years, most notably as executive vice-president of the Bristol Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut. Rowland Hazard III died in Waterbury, Connecticut on December 20, 1945.

            Hazard married Helen Hamilton Campbell in 1910. They were divorced on February 25, 1929 in South Kingstown, and remarried on April 27, 1931. They had four children:

Caroline C., born April 15, 1911, died May 28, 1953. Married Russell Troy Hunter, 1946. She had one son, Troy H. Hunter (1949-1968), who died in Vietnam.

Rowland G. III, born on February 18, 1917, died April 29, 1944 in World War II. Married Mary F. Pitney in 1940; they had one daughter.

Peter Hamilton, born June 27, 1918, died March 27, 1945 in Okinawa. No children.

Charles B., born April 10, 1920, died 1995. Married Edith D. Bruce in 1943. 3 children.

PS This is a friend who is connected to the Hazzard family through marriage.

Ron Richey
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813


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