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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: At a parapsychology meeting in the 1960s, Bill W met Abram Hoffer and learned about the potential mood-stabilizing effects of niacin.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Bill meets Abram Hoffer 1961 - 1969 [Photo: Young Bill Wilson] At a parapsychology meeting in the 1960s, Bill met Abram Hoffer a...

Bill meets Abram Hoffer

1961 - 1969
[Photo: Young Bill Wilson]

At a parapsychology meeting in the 1960s, Bill met Abram Hoffer and learned about the potential mood-stabilizing effects of niacin. Bill was impressed with experiments indicating that alcoholics who were given niacin had a better sobriety rate, and he began to see niacin "as completing the third leg in the stool, the physical to complement the spiritual and emotional." Bill also believed that niacin had given him relief from depression, and he promoted the vitamin within the AA community and with the National Institute of Mental Health as a treatment for schizophrenia. However, Bill created a major furor in AA because he used the AA office and letterhead in his promotion.

For Bill, spiritualism (communicating with the spirits of the dead) was a life-long interest. One of his letters to his spiritual adviser Father Ed Dowling suggests that while Bill was working on his book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions he felt that spirits were helping him, in particular a 15th century monk named Boniface. Bill believed that the living could communicate with the dead and kept a "Spook Room" in his basement, where he along with others would conduct seances with a Ouija board, as well as experiment with automatic writing. Despite his conviction that he had evidence for the reality of the spirit world, Bill chose not to share this with AA. However his practices still created controversy within the AA membership, with one member writing to C. S. Lewis for advice on the legitimacy of spiritualism. Bill and his wife continued with their unusual practices in spite of the misgivings of many AA members and a letter from Lewis advising against spiritualism.
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