"History and imperfection are my specialties—not necessarily in that order."
--Ernest Kurtz, 1996
The lives of Fr. Edward Dowling, Sr. Mary Ignatia Gavin, Fr. John C. Ford, Fr. Ralph Pfau, Dr. Austin Ripley, Fr. Joseph Martin, Sr. Therese Golden, and the history of Guest House constitute critical chapters in the larger story of the rise of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the role of spirituality in long-term recovery from alcoholism. It is thus quite fitting that Recovery Through Catholic Eyes is dedicated to Ernest Kurtz, the person most singularly responsible for uncovering and telling this larger story.
Ernest Kurtz published his seminal work, Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1979 and has continued his writing and teaching on the topics of AA, spirituality, shame, and storytelling. This final chapter of Recovery Through Catholic Eyes explores and honors his ideas, activities, and sustained influence. The chapter contains four sections: 1) a brief biography, 2) a sampling of the topical themes that permeate Kurtz’s work, 3) a profile of Kurtz the man, and 4) an appendix containing a chronology of the Kurtz publications. The chapter is designed to let Kurtz, and those profoundly influenced by him, speak directly to the reader in their own words.
When I began writing a book in the early 1990s on the history of addiction treatment and recovery in America, several people directed me to Ernie Kurtz as the authoritative source. I had no way of knowing that what I expected to be a brief consultation on the history of AA would evolve into a prolonged mentorship, multiple professional collaborations, and an enduring friendship. Through these years, Ernie Kurtz communicated a number of crucial lessons to me about researching and writing history. He repeatedly challenged:
I will try to be faithful to these guidelines in telling Ernie’s own story.
Three sources form the foundation of this chapter: the complete publications of Ernie Kurtz (See appendix), taped and transcribed interviews conducted with Ernie Kurtz in 2008 and 2009, and comments solicited from those who have worked professionally with Ernie Kurtz over the past three decades.
White, Kurtz, & Sanders Recovery Management, 2006.
White & Kurtz Linking Addiction Treatment and Communities of Recovery: A Primer for Addiction Counselors and Recovery Coaches, 2006.
|1982||The Tragedy of Southern Religion|
|1982||Why AA Works: Intellectual Significance of AA|
|1986||AA as a Phenomenon of American Religious History|
|1988||Here's to Spuds|
|1988||Spiritual Rather than Religious: A Contribution of AA|
|1989||Bill W. Takes LSD|
|1990||The Spirituality of William James: A Lesson from Alcoholics Anonymous|
|1991||Shame in the Nineties|
|1992||Commentary on Lay Treatment|
|1992||Research on Alcoholics Anonymous: The Historical Context|
|1993||AA Grapevine History|
|1994||Miller and Kurtz Models of Alcoholism|
|1996||Foreword Moderate Drinking|
|1996||Spirituality and Recovery: The Historical Journey|
|1996||What Ever Happened to Twelve Step Programs?|
|1997||Varieties of the Alcoholics Anonymous Experience|
|1998||Spirituality and Psychotherapy The Historical Context|
|2002||AA and the Disease Concept|
|2003||Robinson Brower & Kurtz Spirituality of Persons Entering Alcoholism Treatment|
|2007||Telephone/Internet Recovery Support|
|2008||White & Kurtz Twelve Defining Moments in the History of Alcoholics Anonymous|
|2010||White & Kurtz A Message of Tolerance and Celebration: Multiple Pathways of Recovery in the Writings of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson|
|2011||White & Kurtz The Varieties of Recovery Experience|
|2012||Strobbe and Kurtz Narratives of Recovery|
|2014||Flaherty, Kurtz, White, & Larson Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Pathways of Long-term Addiction Recovery|
|2014||Spirituality and Addiction Recovery|
|2014||On AA-haters - Interview Link [ salon.com ]|
|2015||Kurtz and White Recovery Spirituality|
|2015||Kurtz & White Alcoholics Anonymous (Coming Soon)|
|2014||Kurtz and White Reflections on AA’s Resilience|
|2014||Kurtz and White AA Agnostic and the Varieties of AA Experience|
|2009||2009 Ernie Kurtz on the history of A.A., spirituality, shame and storytelling. Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center (DVD of three interviews by B. White). |
Video Link [ williamwhitepapers.com ]
|2014||A Reverence for History--Sedona |
Video Link [ vimeo.com ]
|2014||Radio Interview—Experiencing Spirituality (Voice of American Radio Interview)|
Download [ mp3 ]