Carl Jung – AA’s Grandpa

Carl Jung’s Influence on AA

Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, plays a significant role in the history and development of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). His belief that spiritual solutions were best suited to treating life’s problems, especially alcoholism, marked a revolutionary shift in the realms of psychology and addiction treatment.

Spiritual Foundations of AA

AA’s association with Jung, referenced in the very first edition of the Big Book, gave credibility and impetus to Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith’s early attempts to create a spiritual treatment for alcoholism.

A Spiritual Prescription for Alcoholism

It was Jung who suggested a “psychic change” for Roland Hazard, a chronic alcoholic. Roland then took his newfound spiritual awakening to Ebby Thacher. From there, Ebby brought it to Bill Wilson, who in turn introduced it to Dr. Bob Smith, and thus, Alcoholics Anonymous was born.

Why Jung and Not Freud?

Only Jung could have initiated this spiritual revolution. Unlike his contemporary, Sigmund Freud, who was an avowed atheist, Jung was a firm believer in the spiritual aspect of human existence. His faith in the spiritual dimension, combined with his professional influence, made him a guiding light in the early days of AA.

For this reason, it’s fitting to think of Jung as AA’s spiritual grandfather. He deserves recognition and gratitude from the AA community. His works, especially “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” offer valuable insights and are highly recommended.

Carl Jung’s Enduring Wisdom

“The serious problems in life are never solved. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.” – Carl Jung

Jung’s wisdom resonates deeply with the AA principle of working ‘one day at a time.’ It’s not about finding a one-time fix but continuously working towards sobriety and spiritual growth.


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