A  not-for-profit organization founded in 1993 for the publication
of materials on the history and theory of alcoholism treatment and the
moral and spiritual dimensions of recovery

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Table of
TABLE OF CONTENTS: alphabetical list by author and title of articles and essays

Part 1
HISTORICAL MATERIALS 1: Alcoholics Anonymous and history of alcoholism treatment at the Hindsfoot Foundation

Part 2
HISTORICAL MATERIALS 2: Alcoholics Anonymous and history of alcoholism treatment at the Hindsfoot Foundation

Part 3
HISTORICAL MATERIALS 3: Alcoholics Anonymous and history of alcoholism treatment at the Hindsfoot Foundation

ESSAYS: spirituality, psychology, philosophy, religion

SPIRITUALITY: A.A. spirituality, philosophy, and religion at hindsfoot.org

Books on
& theology
PHILOSOPHY: books on philosophy and theology published by the Hindsfoot Foundation

in progress
FUTURE PUBLICATIONS IN PROGRESS: A.A. history and spirituality, recovery from alcoholism and addiction

To order
TO ORDER BOOKS: Hindsfoot Foundation and iUniverse

To contact
TO CONTACT HINDSFOOT: books on Alcoholics Anonymous history, spirituality, alcoholism and addiction treatment

LINKS: other sources on A.A. history, spirituality, and alcoholism treatment



and other writings

The Man on the Bed

Mel B.

Is There Life After Sobriety?

Articles by Mel B. (Toledo, Ohio), sober 1950, written over the years on a variety of different subjects: from the foundations of the spiritual teaching of the twelve step program, to the problem of how to handle the sullen and resentful people who are court ordered to attend A.A. meetings. Author of six books on A.A. history and spirituality, he also was one of the contributing authors to Pass It On: Bill Wilson and the A.A. Message (A.A. World Services), the official A.A. biography of Bill W.

Emmet Fox, Tapping into the Infinite Power  Mel talks about Emmet Fox and "Making Your Life Worthwhile." This is something, Mel says, which "I worked up as a handout for people who have trouble thinking about a Higher Power."

Mel B. (Toledo, Ohio), Is There Life After Sobriety?.  Mel starts with memories of one Sunday morning in the spring of 1948, when he had been thrown in jail in a small Idaho Town for being drunk and disorderly, and was subjected against his will to the preaching and bible verses of a quartet of visiting gospel singers. He was filled with fierce anger and resentment -- at the filthy jail cell, at what seemed to him the smug self-righteousness of the visitors, and at the violation of his rights. But in 1965, a nonalcoholic friend gave him a totally different perception of what had been happening, and he now applies that new perception to the enraged present day claim, by many, that court ordering people to attend A.A. meetings is a fundamental violation of their rights.

Mel B. (Toledo, Ohio), Jesus and AA:  How Ancient Spiritual Teachings Are Linked to the Inspirational Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  This well-known writer on AA spirituality offers us a short but insightful piece on the scriptural foundations of some of AA's basic principles.

Mel B. (Toledo, Ohio), Elder Statesman:  Bill W. in Akron, June 15, 1958.  It was June 15, 1958, Founders' Day for A.A. in Akron, Ohio. Bill was at the gravesite of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith, where in a few moments he would deliver a brief memorial message. Mel talks about the emotional impact of that day -- how Bill simply stood before the headstone, talking to Dr. Bob and Anne as though they were present right before him (as indeed they were there that day, up the realm of the Eternal Goodness) -- and Mel speaks about the way Bill W. was now moving gracefully into the role of A.A. elder statesman.

Mel B. (Toledo, Ohio), Love's Ingredients.  What is love? Dr. Bob told his people to look at Henry Drummond's talk on 1 Corinthians 13, where he explains that Love has nine basic ingredients: Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Humility, Courtesy, Unselfishness, Good Temper, Guilelessness, and Sincerity.

Ebby  A short version of Ebby's life, based on Mel's book which came out in 1998, Ebby The Man Who sponsored Bill W., the standard biography of Ebby Thacher. Bill’s Story in the AA Big Book tells of a sober friend who called on him in late 1934 to bring the Oxford Group message that saved his life and led to the formation of AA. But the friend, Ebby Thacher, eventually drank again and had a troubled life of frequent slips before finding a measure of peace in his last years. Bill never forgot what Ebby had done for him, however, and was his friend and supporter to the end, taking special steps to assure that Ebby had proper care in his final years.

William E. Swegan

The Psychological Aspects of Alcoholism

William E. Swegan as a young Air Force sergeant

William E. Swegan as a young Air Force sergeant,
a Pearl Harbor survivor, who began his career in alcoholism
treatment at Mitchel Air Force Base on Long Island in 1948

In the early 1950's, William E. Swegan, together with psychiatrist Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West, developed a highly successful method of alcoholism treatment called The Lackland Model, which achieved a fully documented 50% success rate even working in the extremely negative atmosphere of a military base, where heavy drinking was a way of life, and most military personel were deeply hostile to anything spiritual.

Louis Jolyon West as a young combat infantryman in World War II

Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West was a young World War II combat infantryman
who became a psychiatrist after the war and teamed up with Bill Swegan in the
early 1950's to develop the Lackland Model of alcoholism treatment.

Two of the major secrets to his success were a highly effective psychological theory of alcoholism and an insistence that all the men and women in the treatment program had to be deeply involved in A.A. groups off of the base, where they could make friends with civilians and be relieved of some of the pressures of military rank and discipline. It was made clear to people entering the treatment program that the A.A. people in the surrounding community were respected and fully participating members of the team who were going to be helping them recover, and that at least one recovering person was going to be a key member of the staff at the treatment center itself.

Victory Over Alcohol

Psychological Healing and the Twelve Steps

1. The Thrill of Victory Over Alcohol.   A pamphlet which Bill Swegan wrote and used when working with newcomers to help break down their alibis, excuses, and stubborn resistance to admitting that their drinking was getting them into deep trouble. It was also designed to introduce them to the basic principles of the twelve steps, which were part of the basic framework of recovery in the Lackland Model, and to show them some of the enormous rewards that came from recovery from alcoholism.

2. The Psychology of Alcoholism. Bill Swegan has found that this simple explanation of the basic psychology of alcoholism has given more insight to more struggling alcoholics and opened more eyes than anything else he has ever used in working with newcomers over the past 56 years. Even people with a number of years in the twelve step program frequently remark that this gave them more help than they had ever received before in understanding the underlying nature of their disease and what we have to do at the practical level in order to start getting well. The fundamental ideas go back to 1949 and Bill's classes at the Yale School of Alcohol Studies with Dr. E. M. Jellinek, one of the first great modern researchers into the physical and psychological nature of alcoholism.

William E. Swegan

After the Lackland years, Bill Swegan continued to work
in alcoholism treatment in Texas and later in California

The good old-timers in A.A. say that this short description of the kinds of inner psychological pressures that drive alcoholics back to the bottle is the best thing Bill ever wrote, and that it ties in beautifully with the old-time A.A. understanding of the recovery process. Bill shows us here why Steps Four through Nine are necessary to long-term recovery and real freedom from the full misery of alcoholism.

William E. Swegan and Mrs. Marty Mann

Bill Swegan giving an award to his friend and mentor,
the great social reformer Mrs. Marty Mann, the First Lady
of Alcoholics Anonymous, at the end of her life

At the end of the twentieth century, Sally and David R. Brown rediscovered William E. Swegan and his alcoholism treatment programs of the 1940s and 50s. Bill's pioneering work had become largely forgotten by that time. But then the Brown's began uncovering references to him and the national notice which his programs had achieved while they were researching their great book on Mrs. Marty Mann, who had been Bill's mentor and patron.

A.A. in the Military

and Military Alcoholism Treatment Programs

Roger W., "A New Pair of Goggles: AA History through a Military Lens and some Military History through an AA lens" -- the text of a talk given at the 18th National A.A. Archives Workshop at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Oct. 9-12, 2014). The most complete and thorough study ever put together of this important area of A.A. history serves as a beautiful example of good historical research.

"Glenn Chesnut on Sgt. Bill Swegan" A video on William E. Swegan, born June 29, 1918, sober July 5, 1948, died August 17, 2008, 90 years old, sober 60 years. The incredible story of a man whose experience intersected many well known AA characters during the late 1940's and early 1950's was told in the autobiography of Sgt Bill S. His co-author Glenn Chesnut could not travel to the Fall 2014 King of Prussia workshop but sent his best and told this part of the story in a video which was shown at the workshop.

Charlie Bishop, Jr.

The Bishop of Books

Charles Bishop, Jr., the Bishop of Books, seller of rare books about Alcoholics Anonymous

Charlie Bishop, Jr.
(see his website The Bishop of Books)

Charles Bishop, Jr. is the co-author with Bill Pittman of the basic AA history reference work To Be Continued…The Alcoholics Anonymous World Bibliography 1935-1994. His library of over 15,000 items on alcoholism and A.A. history was the foundation of the world famous Chester Kirk Collection of Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholism at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

THE KIRK COLLECTION  In 1995, Chester H. Kirk, in a generous contribution to the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, established the Chester H. Kirk Collection on Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous. The 15,000 items purchased initially with Chester Kirk's gift were amassed over two decades by Charles Bishop, an antiquarian bookseller and author of several research tools on Alcoholics Anonymous and related groups. Acquisition of this collection, one of the largest of its kind in the country, immediately brought the University attention as a center for the study of addiction to alcohol and other substances and to the history of attempts to treat or prevent such addictions.

Chronologically, the collection ranged from a leaf from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle depicting a drunken Noah to late 20th century studies. The formats were equally diverse: in addition to printed books, pamphlets there were periodicals, newspapers, dealers' catalogues, posters, audiovisual materials, photographs, 18th century engravings and 19th and 20th century sheet music. American in emphasis, the collection provided rich resources for the study of the temperance and prohibitions movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, hospital-based treatment of addictive behavior, and the 20th century evolution of self-help programs under the leadership of Alcoholics Anonymous. The collection includes a copy of the first book published in British-speaking North America on alcoholism, Anthony Benezet's The Mighty Destroyer Displayed (1774) as well as current issues of The Union Signal, the periodical of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Related materials ranged widely, from those bearing on drinking customs (bartenders' guides and drinking vessels) to anti-drunk driving campaigns and studies of other widespread addictions such as tobacco and narcotic drugs.

In the years since the acquisition of the Kirk Collection the Library, in collaboration with the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, has continued to acquire, by donation and purchase such important collections as Dr. Bob's papers (the Robert Holbrook Smith Collection), the Rutgers-Anti-Saloon League Collection of Temperance and Addiction Studies Periodicals, the Marty Mann NCADD Archives, the Ernest Kurtz Library of Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholism Literature, and the Clarence Snyder A.A. Collection.
Bishop's List -- Fifty Books Tracing AA's History -- is the best-balanced and most comprehensive reading guide around for those wanting to develop a real competence in AA history. It includes just about all of the major works written prior to 2012, the books a good historian should have read thoroughly (or at least know something about) in order to claim real expertise in the field.

What Time Is A.A.? -- in this beautiful little article, the Bishop of Books explains his philosophy of recovery:
"Alcoholics Anonymous is never late, sometimes early, and always on time."
"Co-Founder Dr. Bob told a newcomer he wasn't going to drink today and if he wanted to stick around with him maybe he wouldn't drink today. He didn’t require a lifetime temperance pledge or any other 'tomorrow' promise."
"The second biggest best-seller after the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book was Twenty-Four Hours a Day by Richmond Walker .... the foreword advised 'If we don't take that first drink today, we'll never take it, because it's always today.'"
"Our own experience over the past eleven years with Twelve Step Workshops has proven that anyone who is willing, honest and open-minded can go through the 12 Steps in twelve weeks or less, often less."
"In my drunk career, time was always my enemy. My time then was always tomorrow or the ancient past of failures. Always late or absent. Procrastination was a virtue."
"I wouldn’t change anything in the Big Book. Well, maybe I would like to add these three words to the title page:  to be continued."
Charlie Bishop's original article, an Open Letter to the A.A. Fellowship on Spirituality versus Legalism in Alcoholics Anonymous  talks about the controversies produced when Jon S. of Akron published (in 1985) a facsimile copy of the first 1939 edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as the Circle and Triangle logo legal disputes of the 1980s, the 1994 Mexican Big Book lawsuit, the German Big Book lawsuits which began in 1996, and the AAWS attempts (beginning around 2002) to keep anything being sold on eBay from being described as pertaining to Alcoholics Anonymous or A.A. in any way. (This same article is also posted on the Silkworth.net website.)

Litigation: Or, if the Suit Fits, Wear It  is a position paper which Tom Jasper of the GSO wrote for the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous. In essence, it is a rationalization and justification for AAWS to use the corporate ability to sue, so that they can punish other people and compel them to follow their wishes, including any AA members with whom they are in conflict.

Dennis Bauer, 1991/92 Delegate Area 36 (Minnesota) responded by writing Litigation: Or, the Paradoxical Nature of Rights, a line by line refutation of the arguments raised by Mr. Jasper.

A Proposal Regarding AA's Future  is a proposal that Dennis Bauer's Area sent to be included in the GSC agenda in 1992. Dennis says, "I received numerous letters and a couple of phone calls from staff and trustees claiming that they 'didn't understand what you are asking for' in the proposal .... Eventually, it was not placed on the agenda because, according to Harold Greene (past trustee) 'we don't know what's supposed to happen from this.' "

sketch of Charlie Bishop, Jr., the Bishop of Books, collector of rare books about Alcoholics Anonymous

Charles Bishop, Jr.

John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn is the pen name of the popular writer for the Waynedale News, whose regular column on the twelve step program and Alcoholic Anonymous reaches readers all over the Fort Wayne area in northeastern Indiana.

A Nun's Story: Sister Ruth Finds God in the A.A. Meetings  Summer 2005

The Right Side of the Page  August 7, 2007

Whack-A-Mole  June 2, 2008

Alcoholics Anonymous and Buddhism  July 9, 2007

I'm not a Nice Guy   August 29, 2007


John Barleycorn was the Old English mythical figure who represented the magic spirit of the barley and wheat and other grains that produced alcoholic beverages. When you attempted to "kill John Barleycorn" by burying the grains of barley and wheat in the ground, he would just "come back to life again" by sprouting forth in new green sprouts. As the psychiatrist Carl Jung explained, the only force more powerful than the spirit of John Barleycorn, was an even greater Spirit, that of the Higher Power whom alcoholics meet in the A.A. program.

Off the Walls

Don G. (Temple, Texas)

Don G., Off the Walls: Wisdom from the Road of Happy Destiny  A 12-year-long odyssey, across the country and the world, collecting profound wisdom from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Use them for meeting starters in your discussion group, put them in intergroup newsletters for human interest, study them for your own daily meditation.