Members of the Brotherhood of Brotherly Love came to see me to days after my fall and death at MacLure’s Beach in 1967. One of them, became my art patron. He manufactured LSD with Stanley Augustus Owsley, and Tim Scully who I met and was hooked up to his bio-feedback machine. I announced at this meeting I won what there was to be won in the mind-games people were playing with LSD, and I was taking the game from them.
In the coming years I spoke out against the use of LSD, and all drugs. However, when I got sober, I wondered if LSD could be used to induce a spiritual awakening in alcoholics. In the passing of the law concerning Hobby Lobby, and in light of Thomas Pynchon’s movie ‘Inherit Vice’ I reveal to my reader that the cofounder of Alcoholic’s Anonymous was given LSD to save his life.
Step 2 Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
In the long First Step I did in New Hope, I talked about my use of LSD in the sixties. The two councilors interrupted this important reading in order “to get control of the group back”. I went to the head of Serenity Lane, Hillary Larson, who began to see me one on one. Hillary was a writer and after reading my first step, she called the two councilors in and bid them to apologize to me. They knew nothing about the complex struggle of a human being who came to own extraordinary gifts that have him, or her, in its grip, and like a higher power, has taken complete control of your life.
I told Hillary of my dilemma, being how could I give up my gifted life, even though it may be what I have to do – to save my life. I surmised any attempt to do so would be met with failure. I had read Malcome Lowerys ‘Under Volcano’ and made this my goal;
“I refuse to be a creative being who self-destructs!”
Artaud became my Sober Guide, even my Muse of Recovery. His ‘Van Gough – The Man Suicided by Society’ became my anthem. There was nothing in the Big Book that came to the defense of a Artist in dire peril. I would attend Art’s Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings and bring my sister Christine with me – in spirit! Our abuse of drugs and alcohol had driven a wedge between us. As children we made up our own language. James and Lucia Joyce did the same, and thus Lucia is seen as her father’s Muse.
My beloved sister’s funeral fell on her first sober birthday. I had begun our biography ‘Bonds With Angels’ two years prior. In regards to the argument as to who is closer to those who first experimented with LSD, in getting into AA, it appears I am ‘The Winner’.
It is time to found my church and get the approval of the Supreme Court to use LSD as a religious tool to cure alcoholism.
LSD could help alcoholics stop drinking, AA founder believed
Author reveals Bill Wilson’s acid theory, but his experiments upset other Alcoholics Anonymous members.
The Guardian, Thursday 23 August 2012 13.37 EDT
Bill Wilson believed LSD had helped him overcome depression and that it could also give alcoholics insight to aid their recovery. Most members of Alcoholics Anonymous disagreed. Photograph: Alamy
The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) believed LSD could be used to cure alcoholics and credited the drug with helping his own recovery from often debilitating depression, according to new research.
About 20 years after setting up the Ohio-based sobriety movement in 1935, Bill Wilson came to believe that LSD could help “cynical alcoholics” achieve a “spiritual awakening” and start on the path to recovery.
The discovery that Wilson considered using the drug as an aid to recovery for addicts was made by Don Lattin, author of a book to be published in October by the University of California Press, entitled Distilled Spirits.
Lattin found letters and documents revealing that Wilson at first struggled with the idea that one drug could be used to overcome addiction to another. LSD, which was first synthesised in 1938, is a non-addictive drug that alters thought processes and can inspire spiritual experiences. Wilson thought initially the substance could help others understand the alcohol-induced hallucinations experienced by addicts, and that it might terrify drinkers into changing their ways.
But after his first acid trip, at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Los Angeles on 29 August 1956, Wilson began to believe it was insight, not terror, that could help alcoholics recover.
LSD, by mimicking insanity, could help alcoholics achieve a central tenet of the Twelve Step programme proposed by AA, he believed. It was a matter of finding “a power greater than ourselves” that “could restore us to sanity”. He warned: “I don’t believe [LSD] has any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight. It can set up a shining goal on the positive side, after all it is only a temporary ego-reducer.”
But Wilson added: “The vision and insights given by LSD could create a large incentive – at least in a considerable number of people.”
His words were found in a late 50s letter to Father Ed Dowling, a Catholic priest and member of an experimental group he had formed in New York to explore the spiritual potential of LSD.
Wilson is known to have taken LSD in supervised experiments in the 1950s with Betty Eisner, an American psychologist known for pioneering use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs as adjuncts to psychotherapy, and Sidney Cohen, a psychiatrist in Los Angeles.
Wilson also discussed, in great detail, taking LSD with the author Aldous Huxley, and it is likely, though not proven, that the pair experimented with the drug together.
“I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much,” Wilson wrote in a 1957 letter to the science writer and philosopher Gerald Heard. “I find myself with a heightened colour perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depressions.”
In a talk given in 1976, Humphry Osmond, the British psychiatrist who coined the word “psychedelic”, said he told Wilson in 1956 “that [LSD] was good news”.
Osmond said: “But [Wilson] was far from pleased with the idea of alcoholics being assailed by some strange chemical. Later on Bill got extremely interested and … he likened his LSD experience to his earlier vision of seeing this chain of drunks around the world, all helping each other. This caused various scandals in AA. They were very ambivalent about their great founder taking LSD, yet they wouldn’t have existed if he hadn’t been of an adventurous kind of mind.”
Lattin also found letters in which Eisner described Wilson’s thoughts when attending the VA hospital in 1956 to take LSD in a controlled experiment with herself, Cohen and Wilson’s wife, Lois. “Alcoholics Anonymous was actually considering using LSD,” Eisner wrote. “Alcoholics get to a point in the [programme] where they need a spiritual experience but not all of them are able to have one.”
In a letter to Heard in September 1956, shortly after his first LSD experience, Wilson admitted he was appreciating the drug’s value. “I do feel a residue of assurance and a feeling of enhanced beauty that seems likely to stay by me.”
A few months on Wilson was yet more positive about the long-term benefits. “More and more it appears to me that the experience has done a sustained good,” he wrote to Heard on 4 December 1956. “My reactions to things totally, and in particular, have very definitely improved for no other reason that I can see.”
Lattin said Wilson was “so intrigued by the spiritual potential of LSD” he formed the experimental group that included Dowling, and Eugene Exman, Harper’s religious book editor. Wilson, however, remained sensitive to the controversy of his experiments. In a letter to Cohen, written between 1956 and 1961, he reported hearing gossip about his LSD use in AA circles. He reminded Cohen about “the desirability” of omitting his name “when discussing LSD with AAs”. Cohen reassured Wilson that his LSD trials did not include other active AA members.
In 1958 Wilson defended his drug use in a long letter but soon afterwards removed himself from the AA governing body to be free to do his experiments.
According to the anonymous author of his official biography, Wilson felt LSD “helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one’s direct experiences of the cosmos and of god”. He “thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered”.
But, according to Pass It On, published in 1984 by AA World Services in New York, the movement was totally against his suggestions. “As word of Bill’s activities reached the fellowship there were inevitable repercussions. Most AAs were violently opposed to his experimenting with a mind-altering substance. LSD was then totally unfamiliar, poorly researched, and entirely experimental – and Bill was taking it.”
Rena Christiansen: My Thalo Angel
Rena Christiansen: My Thalo Angel
When Christine Wandel fell in love with me I was doing a large painting of McLure s Beach where I died. There were stars in
Message 1 of 1 , Jan 16, 2010
Rena Christiansen: My Thalo Angel
When Christine Wandel fell in love with me I was doing a large painting of McLure’s Beach where I died. There were stars in the sky and a crescent moon. I was trying to show that heaven is here on earth, right under our noses, but, only a few own the eyes to see, and the ears to hear the Song of Angels. I was painting the sky with stars.
The large painting I did of Rena had her standing on a grassy hill after the sun had set and the evening sky was a rainbow with stars coming out in the thalo blue. There was a crescent moon cradling a star. Rena was wearing a thalo blue cape the color of Carla Bruni’s sweater. I painted stars along the edge. For two months I have been thinking of posting this photo, for the entity I saw was wearing a thalo blue robe and had jet black hair filled with tiny stars like diamonds.
I was born three minutes past sunset when the stars began to fall from the sky. God painted the sky with stars when I was born, when I died, and when I was reborn.
“Draconid activity occurs between October 6 and 10, with a peak on October 8 (if it occurs at all). In 1933 and 1946, the shower produced brief but intense meteor storms (more than 5,000 per hour);”
The best and bravest thing I have ever done, was say goodbye to Rena Christiansen, and let her go, let her live her young life so she can know her fate. I understand now that we wereto be married before we had intercourse. We were destined to have a sacred marriage.
Last night, I fell asleep next to Rena. I conjured her energy, her scent, her flesh lying next to me. I awoke two hours later in dread. I could not find her in my dreams.
For months now I have noted and mentioned to a dear friend, my angel does not talk to me anymore. Both my blogs are full of posts where I write about the messages I recieve while asleep. I sobbed, and sobbed.
The liars who wrote my late sister’s biography testify to a rogue wave that came ten thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean, like a tsunami, and take Christine’s life the very second she predicts this was possible.
Rena Christiansen kissed her grandmother goodbye in Grand Island Nebraska, got in her boyfreind’s car, drove to L.A. went to the beach, and after an ordeal, ended up on the edge of the Pacific Ocean watching this lone figure walking her way. There were stars in the sky.
Here is the place I died.
“My nomination for the most beautiful spot on earth.Click the thumbnail above to see the full panorama.”
Dear Rena, my Thalo Blue Angel, if you are here, on this planet, please let me know. I must let you know who you are, to me. I want to marry you. I want to stand under a cathedral of stars, and when this song is done, you are by my side.
Wilson strongly advocated that AA groups have not the “slightest reform of political complexion”. In 1946, he wrote “No AA group or members should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues — particularly those of politics, alcohol reform or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. ” Reworded, this became “Tradition 10” for AA.
Alternative cures and spiritualism
In the 1950s Wilson used LSD in medically supervised experiments with Betty Eisner, Gerald Heard, and Aldous Huxley. With Wilson’s invitation, his wife Lois, his spiritual adviser Father Ed Dowling, and Nell Wing also participated in experimentation of this drug. Later Wilson wrote to Carl Jung, praising the results and recommending it as validation of Jung’s spiritual experience. (The letter was not in fact sent as Jung had died.) According to Wilson, the session allowed him to re-experience a spontaneous spiritual experience he had had years before, which had enabled him to overcome his own alcoholism. Bill was enthusiastic about his experience; he felt it helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one’s direct experience of the cosmos and of God. He thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered. Bill is quoted as saying: “It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God’s grace possible. If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going — well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone. It will never take the place of any of the existing means by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced.” Wilson felt that regular usage of LSD in a carefully controlled, structured setting would be beneficial for many recovering alcoholics. However, he felt this method only should be attempted by individuals with well-developed super-egos. In 1957 Wilson wrote a letter to Heard saying: “I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much. I find myself with a heightened colour perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depressions.” Most AAs were violently opposed to his experimenting with a mind-altering substance.
Eisner’s accomplishments are considerable, even if one does not consider how few independent female scientists there were in the 1950s and 1960s. She conducted early research into the use of LSD to treat alcoholism and maintained an active interest in hallucinogens throughout her career. Along with Sidney Cohen, Eisner appears to have originated the practice of using simultaneous male and female therapists or researchers during human hallucinogen administration. Eisner was a therapist for Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, when he tried LSD. In addition to using hallucinogens like LSD and mescaline in psychedelic therapy, Eisner also gave stimulants such as methylphenidate and the inhaled gas mixture carbogen to her patients.
In the 1950s, Heard tried LSD and felt that, used properly, it had strong potential to “enlarge Man’s mind” by allowing a person to see beyond his ego. In late August 1956, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson first took LSD — under Heard’s guidance and with the officiating presence of Dr. Sidney Cohen, a psychiatrist then with the California Veterans Administration Hospital. According to Wilson, the session allowed him to re-experience a spontaneous spiritual experience he had had years before, which had enabled him to overcome his own alcoholism.
Heard is also responsible for introducing the then unknown Huston Smith to Huxley. Smith became one of the pre-eminent religious studies scholars in the United States. His book The World’s Religions is a classic in the field, sold over two million copies and is considered a particularly useful introduction to comparative religion. The meeting with Huxley led eventually to Smith’s connection to Timothy Leary.
Heard introduced Huxley to Vedanta (Upanishad-centered philosophy), meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938 Huxley befriended J. Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired. He also became a Vedantist in the circle of Hindu Swami Prabhavananda, and introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. Not long after, Huxley wrote his book on widely held spiritual values and ideas, The Perennial Philosophy, which discussed the teachings of renowned mystics of the world. Huxley’s book affirmed a sensibility that insists there are realities beyond the generally accepted “five senses” and that there is genuine meaning for humans beyond both sensual satisfactions and sentimentalities.
On his deathbed, unable to speak, Huxley made a written request to his wife Laura for “LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular”. According to her account of his death in This Timeless Moment, she obliged with an injection at 11:45 am and a second dose a few hours later; Huxley died aged 69, at 5:20 pm on 22 November 1963. Media coverage of Huxley’s passing was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, on the same day (as was the death of the British author C. S. Lewis). This coincidence was the inspiration for Peter Kreeft’s book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley.
In 1986 I began my cartoon book ‘My Christ-Complex’. This book was inspired by my visit with my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren, a long time friend of the Kesey family who she made rich with her grandma’s recipe for yogurt.
Nancy was there when I graduated from Serenity Lane in 1987. Pages from this prophetic book were hung on the wall. I say “prophetic” because I foresaw the coming of the Corporate Right-wing Jesus who is born in Mendocino during a raid on his father’s pot crop. Joseph looks like I do today. His son will surpass Donald Trump after he convinces Joe to give up his burl business and get into the futon business.
Joe is visited by his three friends who went to Harvard with him. They are leftist attorneys. I had yet to meet Ed Corbin and his friends, Mark Gall, and Tom Tom. These three friends went to Harvard. Tom married a Schlumberger who are world-class art collectors and oil drilling folks. Ed’s wife married a man kin to the Rockefeller.
This family is on the Internet. My mother-in-law’s maiden name is Wieneke, so I copied it. I show twelve children for Anna Wieneke (daugther of Heinrich Wieneke[1798-3/7/1890] and Anna Katherinea Kleinschalau [9/9/1804-2/15/1884]) and Andrew Stark in this birth order: Mary,1856; John, 1857; Ida Catherine, 1859; George M., 1861; Mary J., 1863; Emma Theresa, 1865; Franciska, 1866; Elizabeth, 1868; Charles Henry, 1870; Philomena, 1872; Matilda, 1874; Ralph Allen, 1884.
My mother-in-law is from the Henry and Mary (Kalafeld) Wieneke family who came from Germany to Dyersville, IA in 1884. She remembers going to Wieneke-Kleinschallau reunions, often in CR. Do you know the connection between these two families?
Fred Althoff in Iowa
There’s a family story that says three of John Wieneke daughters married Starks and three entered the convent– from the ridiculuous to the sublime! I have a document saying that there were two Stark families near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, related only through the Wieneke’s. Heinrich and Anna Catharina (sp) Kleinschlau Wieneke’s son John (Johan, in our family lore, 12-9-1834) had a sister, Anna Maria (7-23-1832), who married Andrew Stark.
John Wieneke and his wife, Elizabeth Brecht (11-19-1840) married 10-11-1859 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa according to a 1915 obituary of John in the Cedar Rapids newspaper. They had a daughter, Anna (1863) who married Theodore Stark (1860), an immigrant from Germany. Theodore was my paternal great-grandfather. His son, Robert John Stark (8-11-1892) married Anastasia Brigid Shekleton of Linn County. Their oldest son, Vincent Shekleton Stark (6-18-1916 to 7-17-2003) was my father.
One of John’s daughters married a Joseph Stark of Cedar Rapids; another married Albert Stark who had a farm near Cedar Rapids. Neither are related to my Stark family, except through the Wieneke’s. Of the three daughters who entered the convent, I have only their religious names, Sister M. Dominica, Dubuque; Sister M. Calista, Dyersville and Sister M. Petronella. Don’t know where her convent was.
The birth date in my family records for Anna Catharina Kleinschlau is Oct. 3, 1806. My Dad also told stories of going to the Kleinschlau-Brecht family reunions. Hope this helps with your search.