Practice These Principles
Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery

AA History & Big Book Authors

AA History – Rowland Hazard


The story of Rowland H. is told in pages 26-28 of the Big Book, where he’s referred to anonymously as “a certain American business man.” Rowland seemed to have everything going for him. Except that he couldn’t stop drinking. He had floundered from one sanitarium to another and consulted the best-known American psychiatrists, but nothing had helped. Desperate, he travelled to Europe to see Dr. Carl Jung. After an unsuccessful attempt to help him, the doctor told Rowland there was no hope for him. Few alcoholics of his type ever recovered, unless they had what Jung called a vital spiritual experience. Rowland was greatly relieved, for he was a good church member. But the doctor advised him that, “while his religious convictions were very good, they did not spell the necessary spiritual experience.” This led Rowland to the Oxford Group, headed by Sam Shoemaker at Calvary Episcopal Church in NYC,* where he was finally able to get sober. Rowland became the sponsor of Ebby T., who then became Bill W.’s sponsor. Duration: 6:20. For more on Rowland, see Big Book Q&A, Chapter 1, “Bill’s Story, p.9, Chapter 2, “There’s a Solution,” p.26, and Chapter 11, “A Vision for You,” pp. 157-158. See also PTP, pp. 48-49. See also video “Sam Shoemaker: 1960 AA Convention,” in “Audios & Videos.”

[* As it happens, it was at an AA meeting in that church in 1984 that the author of PTP heard a woman named Irene carry the message that led him to admit his life had become unmanageable.]

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