Notes and Documents

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Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair, New Jersey, the Dr. Howard who commented on the multilith of the AA Big Book


Dr James Wainwright Howard from Montclair, New Jersey, seems very likely to have been the "Dr. Howard" who commented on the mimeographed copy of the AA Big Book. This short account of his life is taken from the Biographical Directory Of Fellows and Members of the American Psychiatric Association.

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, pp. 167-8, says "By now great numbers of the 400 mimeographs [of the Big Book in the form which had been agreed on at that point] had been returned .... Many helpful suggestions had been made, and two of these were critically important."

"One of them came from Dr. Howard, a well-known psychiatrist of Montclair, New Jersey. He pointed out that the text of our book was too full of the words "you" and "must." He suggested that we substitute wherever possible such expressions as "we ought" or "we should." His idea was to remove all forms of coercion, to put our fellowship on a "we ought" basis instead of a "you must" basis .... I argued weakly against it but soon gave in; it was perfectly apparent that the doctor was right. Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Tiebout gave us similar advice ...."




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