Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson’s grandfather quit drinking “immediately after having a ‘religious experience’ when he was under the influence of [magic mushrooms].”

Bill W.

For the 2012 film, see Bill W. (film).

William Griffith Wilson (November 26, 1895 – January 24, 1971), also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

AA is an international mutual aid fellowship with about 2 million members worldwide belonging to approximately 10,000 groups, associations, organizations, cooperatives, and fellowships of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. Following AA’s Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as “Bill W.” or “Bill.” In order to communicate among one another, members of “AA” will often ask those who appear to be suffering or having a relapse from alcoholism if they are “friends of Bill”. Although this question can … Continue Reading (14 minute read)

10 thoughts on “Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson’s grandfather quit drinking “immediately after having a ‘religious experience’ when he was under the influence of [magic mushrooms].””

  1. codethisorthat

    Bill Wilson himself did LSD after founding AA thinking it could help.

  2. hdmx539

    Here are just some links to psilocybin and research for it’s use in treating C/PTSD, depression, and even alcoholism.

    Psychodelics and Healing Trauma


    Psychedelic Assisted Therapy with Dr. Elizabeth Nielson – she studies the affects of psychedelics and how it’s helped people to heal from traumas.


    Psychedelic Treatment with Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression, Study Shows (Johns Hopkins)


    FDA Calls Psychedelic Psilocybin a ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ for Severe Depression


    A Double-Blind Trial of Psilocybin-Assisted Treatment of Alcohol Dependence (This is is very promising.)

  3. TheAliceWeaver

    This is actually discussed in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. If you ever want a deep dive into addiction counseling, that book provides excellent insight. As far as AA goes, other founding members didn’t want to conflate an anti-drug message with a drug based solution.

    For those interested in psychedelics as a treatment for addiction, How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan is incredibly accessible. Iirc, there’s also a blurb about Bill Wilson in there.

  4. mikewhat1

    I played the part of “man” in Bill W and Dr. Bob. There wasn’t any mention of LSD or shrooms but I remember Bill W saying something about his father not drinking again after something happened.

    I really just wanted to mention that I was in a play.

  5. Wolfwoode

    I’ve done mushrooms but never LSD. I’m 3 weeks without a drink and am contemplating medicinal use. I’d probably be more inclined to do mushrooms again than LSD. It’s supposed to be good for depression as well.

  6. aFiachra

    As long as he didn’t call them “mushies”.

  7. superCobraJet

    The one step program

  8. keetojm

    I could have thought I remembered reading an article about some 1950s research into this phenomenon and the study being squashed.

  9. SolarSmelter

    We won’t stop seeing these amazing things be demonized as long as people are kept ignorant to the research and sound results .

  10. Kabd_w

    Still waiting to get a connection for mushrooms, tried them in the past and they really helped my depression, like for weeks after even it was crazy. Maybe I’ll just have to learn how to grow them

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