“Bill W.”: Just Another Drunk Trying to Get Along

Editor’s Note: In recognition of AA’s annual Founders’ Day celebration this weekend in Akron, Points is pleased to present some thoughts on the new documentary Bill W., directed by Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino of Page 124 Productions.  Our first commentator is Jay Stinnett, a historian of the spiritual antecedents of the 12 step movement, author […]

Mrs. Marty Mann and the Medicalization of Alcoholism

I’m a big fan of contradictions. Where they occur – in social movements, in ideology, in programs of action – they tend to highlight the underlying compositional character of human enterprises.  Thus contradictions also provide occasions where the contributing strands of such enterprises may be more easily separated out for examination.  (Comedians, of course, love […]

What is “AA History”?

Editor’s Note: Following up on last week’s post about the Alcoholics Anonymous National Archives Workshop, Points this week welcomes the comments of Guest Blogger Ernie Kurtz, the author of Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous (1979) and the pre-eminent historian of AA– a title that, as he notes below, he is eager to shed.  “What […]

History at Work and Play: Thoughts on the AA Archives Workshop

Points readers interested in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous will be interested to know that this weekend (22-25 Sept.) is the 15th Annual National AA Archives Workshop— a get-together dedicated to collecting and preserving the history of that fellowship at the local, regional, and national levels.  Points readers who are not interested in AA history […]

E.M. Jellinek at Worcester: A Bare Beginning

Had Bill W. or Dr. Bob been employed in some capacity at Worcester State Hospital for almost a decade in the 1930s, it’s a pretty safe bet there’d be more than a little written material on that patch of their lives in the recovery movement’s literature.  E.M. Jellinek worked at Worcester for almost a decade, […]

The Libertarian Theme in Anti-AA Rhetoric

Hopping on the Ron Paul bandwagon as it pulls out for Campaign 2012, guest blogger Eoin Cannon speculates on why Libertarians don’t show more love for Alcoholics Anonymous. In the book manuscript I’m currently revising, I look at the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in relation to its political moment in the mid-to-late 1930s, building a […]

Radical Temperance: Conference General Report

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Dr. Annemarie McAllister, Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central Lancashire, and Pam Lock, a doctoral candidate and the GW4 Developing People Officer at the University of Bristol. They organized a conference on alcohol called Radical Temperance: Social Change and Drink, from Teetotalism to Dry January, held […]

“Without Hemp Columbus Would Not Have Reached America”: Barcelona’s Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum

Editor’s Note: Today’s piece is by Dr. Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, Associate Professor of History at University of Colorado Boulder and author of the book, Moral Nation: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History. Having visited museums and exhibitions on intoxicants (several of which I’ve reviewed for Points) in nearly ten different countries, a few consistent […]